Landscaping & Real-estate developments
In a fiercely competitive real estate market, landscaping is becoming one of the differentiators for the projects to stand out in the crowd. Ravi Ram, CEO & MD of VBHC Value Homes explains how developers are now marketing their projects on the basis of landscaped spaces and outdoor facilities.
The role of landscaping in a real estate development
Following the global trend, outdoor landscaping is becoming an important aspect of project planning. While, there are developers who are hiring international landscape designers for master planning, at the other end of the spectrum are developers for whom outdoor planning is a second thought.
I don’t think that only top developers or brand companies are aware of the landscaping. There are many promoters of mid-range and affordable housing who are equally keen to incorporate landscaping in their projects as a value addition.
It also comes down to the personal interest of the top management of the company and their love for nature. I am very fond of green spaces and therefore right at the project planning stage, I brief the designers to include well planned open spaces.
If landscape architecture is evolved with the design and development of the built spaces architecture, then it adds value to the life of the residents. As an afterthought, landscaping is reduced to being a decorative element or marketing gimmick to attract buyers.
How helpful is it for a project to bring an international landscape designer?
While, we do have globally renowned consultants working with us, I have a contrary view to the association of international landscape designers with the projects. A foreign consultant brings in a global perspective to the master planning in terms of relationship of built and un- built spaces. But, to design green spaces, knowledge of local climatic conditions, plants species and vegetation is very important which a local designer would know better.
So, the soft landscaping done by the local landscape designer will ensure that the greenery is sustainable; the overall master plan by an international designer will give it an international flavor. They both are interdependent on each other. Therefore, it is important that the intentions of the developer are in the best interest of the project and not just to bring an element of novelty for marketing purposes.
What is your approach towards the design?
Whether a project is a luxury residential or an affordable housing development, landscape is one design feature that can add to the living experience of the residents notwithstanding the amount of budget or space.
A small well designed open area with designated play areas and walking paths surrounded by greenery are enough to bring comfort to residents. In contrast, a highly decorative mural wall with expensive waterfall remains just a showpiece, offering no value addition to the occupants living.
My approach to outdoor planning is based on the design concept, delivery, product execution and how it should be an easily maintainable element for the residents to use for coming years. There have been instance, where developers in a hurry to showcase their projects have asked landscape designers to design and plant green spaces within a short span with no concern if the plants would survive beyond the initial few months.
The builders and landscape designers should work in sync to provide the end users, the spaces that have been created in harmony with the buildings and is part of their lifestyle not just the design. In affordable housing, it becomes even more important that the amenities should match with the initial price point and the maintenance costs during the lifecycle of the building.