Campus Safety: Keeping Your Students Safe and Sound
Landscape can enhance campus safety without it looking sterile
Security and safety measures run the risk of making a school feel less like a place of learning, but a thoughtful landscape can combat this effect. Not only can it be employed to meet the latest requirements, it also plays an important role in softening or concealing imposing barriers or safety equipment. See how:
Parking Lot Safety
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 20 percent of all vehicular accidents occur in parking lots. Landscapes can help create an attractive natural barrier that keep students at a safe distance. In addition to gates and painted curbs, consider planting hedges to provide a buffer between sidewalks and the parking area. Hedges can also help organize and direct foot traffic, ensuring an orderly pick-up and drop-off process.
Beautify and Bolster Barriers
Like many schools, you probably have some type of fencing along your perimeter. Oftentimes, these barriers aren’t the most attractive and can still be scaled by determined individuals. Consider planting shrubbery or ornamental grasses at the base of your perimeter fences. Not only will the plant material enhance the view, it will also make it more difficult for climbers to get a foothold. For schools with high-profile or at-risk students, these natural barriers can also provide an important measure of privacy.
Keeping up with regular landscape maintenance isn’t only an aesthetic concern, but it’s also a safety concern. Creating open sightlines is a simple, but valuable way for teachers and administrators to keep an eye on students and potential risks. Having the proper clearance for trees and shrubs from building entrances and windows enhances passive security. Also, consider your building perimeters. You should have an adequate, unobstructed buffer of open space around each building to maintain an open view, but also ensure there are not any objects — natural or physical — that could be used for climbing or hiding.
Define an Entrance
You know that landscapes can beautify buildings and entrances, but did you also know it can help with wayfinding? Landscapes, particularly seasonal color and shrubbery, can ensure visitors enter at appropriate points of entrance and egress. A landscape partner can help you employ landscapes strategically to define important areas, highlight signage, and direct visitors onto designated pathways.