How Landscape Architecture Can Better Combat Air Pollution

July 18, 2022 4:35 pm  | Published by

There are many goals for an ideal landscape. First, you certainly want it to be aesthetically pleasing. Second, you need to ensure it is enjoyable for people to use, or at the very least, safe for them to navigate. Next, you may want to design it to be easy to maintain. You could also craft a landscape that makes the best use of natural resources like water. But lastly, and often overlooked, you should design a landscape that can better combat air pollution.  

Altogether, it’s a tall order. That’s why we have become experts at executing just such ideal landscape architecture for our clients here at Jerry Pate Design. But today, we’re going to break it down and help you to explore the final of those goals. Here is how landscape architecture can better combat air pollution. 

You Can Combat Air Pollution by Being Thoughtful About Plant and Tree Selection

Mother Nature herself can’t always decide precisely which plants and trees will go where. One wishes she could, because certain plant varieties can have an immense impact on clearing air pollution. You can help by doing this for her! 

Plants and trees purify the air by both removing pollutants and bringing temperatures down, which reduces nearby energy usage that would further contribute to poor air quality. The latter happens with any variety of tree or plant, as they attract water and create shade—both heat reducers. So, the species that make the biggest mark on air quality are the ones with a talent for removing pollutants. Here are some favorites to consider … 

Best Landscaping Plants and Trees to Combat Air Pollution

  • Red Cedar
  • Douglas Fir
  • Silver Maple
  • Cherry Birch
  • Honey Locust
  • Areca Palm
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Aloe Vera
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Gerbera Daisy
  • Chrysanthemum
  • English Ivy
  • Snake Plant

Landscapes Combat Air Pollution by Acting as Urban Forests


Of course, the impact of this will depend on where your landscape is located. But consider a skyscraper in the midst of a cityscape. Let’s say this is your building, and you’re working on the landscape architecture for a small park and the border of the building. If you incorporate the right trees and plants (see above list), you could contribute significantly to clearing air pollution in your little corner.  

It’s nice to imagine the change that could be observed if every building owner in every city undertook this mission. But have no doubt that every single person who chooses to invest in this makes a difference. As a study by the National Recreation and Park Association tells us, “Annual pollution removal and economic benefits by U.S. urban park trees is estimated at about 75,000 tons ($500 million) or 80 pounds per acre of tree cover ($300 per acre of tree cover).” 

You Are Needed to Combat Air Pollution

The verdict is clear: your choices for your landscape architecture can absolutely improve air quality. By considering air purification one of your goals during the planning process, you can assist the environment while also improving conditions for those who will enjoy your landscape. At the same time, you might save money because your building will be cooler for having the shade and water attractors! 

If you want help figuring out how best to combat air pollution in your landscape architecture, we would love to chat about it. Get in touch with us today! 

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This post was written by Steve Dana

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