People looking for new homes have their opinions formed about housing as soon as they step into the yard. Environment plays an important role for the quality of life, which nowadays means more than a parking space available – a resident of a modern block of flats is looking for a representative, finished yard to be able to spend time there safely and cosily. Changed demands of residents and competition among new residential project developers dictate exclusive yard design solutions.
In a yard like in a park
A city resident is longing probably most for nature, therefore it is important to offer at least small oasis for rest in fresh air. 'For people living in a city, the environment of a block of flats is their ' closest nature' outside their homes, which greets them coming back and sees them off leaving', said Head of Terra Firma landscape architecture company Ramunė Sanderson.
Ms. Sanderson assured that a strong human-nature connection has been characteristic to our culture from old times, and shortage of it can be harmful for mental and physical health.
To ensure sufficient space for greenery in the yards, parking lots are more often built under the blocks. 'When you live in a densely urbanised environment, you always want to have a small yard free of cars', said architect of SP architektų grupė Saulius Pamerneckis.
Representative of Realco company developing the projects 'The Lakes Linkmenai' and 'Žvėrynas Panorama' Marijonas Chmieliauskashighlighted that when selecting varieties of plants and their future planting spots, the view from the windows must be considered, whether there is a staircase, terrace next to it, and orientation by countries: 'Plants offer an excellent solution in creating privacy for residents – by planting slightly taller shrubs and rushes next to the first floor terraces'. Mr. Chmieliauskas emphasised the importance of selecting low maintenance and low-cost solutions when creating beautiful environment.
Resting, communicating, moving
However, Mr. Pamerneckis notes that no greenery will help to make the environment cosy if the space reminds a well: 'It is important for the yard to be spacious and with natural light coming. Artificial lighting in dark hours, small architecture, etc. are no less important'.
Functional spaces catering for different needs of residents also help to ensure good quality of life. 'In our projects, we divide outdoor space into zones for rest, communication, fitness and other activities. We focus a lot of attention on children zones, because we noticed that play area elements in majority of projects are the same. It made us look for unconventional solutions', said Mr. Chmieliauskas.
Everyone will find something to do in such environment of a block of flats, besides it encourages community spirit – spaces intended for communication and meetings of residents come handy.
Another important aspect is joint care of the surroundings by neighbours – it is also a form of communication.
'A few rows of vegetables or herbs also make the community stronger', stated Ms. Sanderson. Better understanding of people of the environment they want to spend their time in promotes bigger investments into assurance of quality of outdoor environment of blocks of flats, while Ms. Sanderson noted that in this field Vilnius is still the leader. According to her, yards of blocks of houses are still lacking ecology and sustainability: 'A trend to use rainwater to water plants, to compost, to install more natural infiltration ponds creating possibility for natural diversity and children's education is longed for'.
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