Sustainable design has become a core tenant of urban planning and architecture. Governmental and organizational commitments to net-zero pledges have brought serious funding to green projects and carbon neutral developments.
Wildflower turf plays a key role in ensuring that urban planning and development achieve carbon neutrality. Wildflower turfs are easy to maintain and suck carbon out of the air during photosynthesis. They also use a minimal amount of water compared to other types of plant life and can improve the local air quality.
Turf can be used to beautify public spaces at a low cost and with minimal environmental disruption, too. This is particularly important today, as a growing body of research shows that green spaces are vital for people’s mental health and well-being.
Restoring Vacant Spaces
Irresponsible urban development and intensive industry means that many brownfield sites are now little more than vacant eyesores.
Restoring brownfield sites takes a coordinated approach to planning and planting. However, local governments can start restoring lots and pastures by:
- Assessing for Drainage: Some wildflowers need high levels of drainage, while others prefer bog-like soil. Finding the right plants for the right space is key.
- Topography: Many urban brownfield sites feature hollowed-out pits and abandoned buildings. Urban planners can make use of the existing architecture by identifying areas for ponds as well as plants.
- Soil Quality: Wildflowers are hardy. However, some plants will thrive better than others due to differences in soil quality. Rather than scattering random seeds, planners should assess the soil quality and match the right plant with the existing soil composition.
Transforming public spaces into wildflower meadows is becoming increasingly popular — and for good reason. Brownfield sites that are turned into areas of natural beauty aren’t just good for the local population, they’re also good for the environment. They improve the local air quality and can help local councils offset their carbon emissions at a minimal cost.
Low Maintenance, High Reward
Greenspaces are wonderful for local biodiversity and can be a real boon for folks who live in the area. However, many councils are hesitant to install any form of greenspace or park due to high maintenance fees and intensive upkeep.
Wildflower turf is notoriously easy to maintain and is designed to self-regulate. Put simply, the flowers within wildflower turf adjust to the conditions and continue to flower even when temperatures rise due to climate change.
Wildflower meadows can play a central role in green building initiatives and support sustainable construction methods. Local councils can use renewable materials — like timber from replanted forests — to reduce waste on site and improve biodiversity at completed projects. Once the construction work has been finished, wildflower meadows can be installed to complement low-energy buildings and provide access to greenspaces.
Wildflower meadows require minimal re-working, too, as they already have everything necessary to flourish. This can help councils reduce waste, as they won’t need to dig up old bulbs and plant fresh flowers every spring.
Quality of Life
Wildflower turfs provide an important carbon sink that can help us reach net-zero goals. Low-nutrient, soil-free turf meadows can also significantly improve the local air quality and help everyone take a much-needed breath of fresh air.
This is particularly important in urban areas, as wildflower meadows can pull harmful pollutants from the air. Wildflowers that are established near roads and parking lots can provide an important barrier between residential spaces and vehicle emissions, too.
Wildflower turf is able to handle drought-like conditions, but can quickly suck up heavy rainfall. This is helpful in urban areas, which may be prone to flash flooding as the world becomes warmer and precipitation becomes more intense. Wildflower turf provides a sustainable form of drainage and can significantly reduce the risk of pollutants (like oil and chemicals) spreading during a period of heavy rainfall.
Biodiversity and Pollinators
For one real-world example, we can consider the UK. Around 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been destroyed since 1930. This has effectively reverse-terraformed our urban spaces in the name of progress while leaving behind vulnerable species and delicately balanced ecosystems.
Installing low-maintenance wildflower meadows in urban areas can start to reverse some of the damage done by irresponsible development. This is already happening in areas like Bedfordshire, where Natural England is working with Luton Borough Council to preserve existing grasslands and wildlife sites.
Local planners can double down on regional commitments to ecological protection by installing eye-catching, low-maintenance wildflower turf. Allowing wildflowers to grow in public spaces can feed hungry pollinators and provide protection for small mammals like hedgehogs and foxes. Forgoing the mowing can produce enough nectar for 10 times more bees and other pollinators while strengthening the local ecology.
Wildflower turf should play a central role in all sustainable urban developments. Turf can be installed on roofs and in low-nutrient soil, meaning even the most depleted brownfield site can support flowers and grasses. This will reduce carbon emissions, improve local air quality, and protect urban populations against flash floods and water-borne polluters.
Second Photo by Mina-Marie Michell at Pexels
Guest Author Bio
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but business, technology, and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or getting into the latest tech.