Nurseries can position plants into functional landscape markets by focusing on the positive benefits of plants, such as enhanced aesthetics for public acceptance, pollution mitigation, and increasing GI functionality for the site.
Many US cities are implementing policies to control stormwater using planted features such as bioswales, bioretention/rain gardens, and constructed wetlands. They’re also employing cisterns, permeable pavement, and other non-plant-based ways to handle water at the site or regional scale.
Often characterized as low impact development (LID), these methods are usually a voluntary, cost-effective option for stormwater management. They’re part of a larger concept called green infra- structure (GI), which encompasses all the functions plants can serve in the urban landscape—everything from increasing stormwater infiltration at the site level, to reducing temperatures locally, to providing beneficial wildlife habitat, and boosting property values citywide.
These functional landscapes are creating an emerging market for plants and horticultural services. Currently the largest segment within this market is for site specific stormwater management. Plant demand for these features is largely generated by landscape architects working with engineering firms who are implementing a site-level public or private contract. Plant lists approved for projects like these are often included in BMP (Best Management Practices) manuals for stormwater control or new or infill development. (2014) By Debbie Hamrick and Shannon Currey in Nursery Notes published by the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association.