Aesthetics, availability of native planting stock, ease establishment, suitability of plant to the site and ease of maintenance are criteria which need to be taken into consideration when designing planting schemes. Gardeners, horticulturalists, local authorities, road authorities, schools, urban park managers, developers and others must take these factors into account when designing planting schemes for new or existing residential, general business, parks or industrial development sites within urban, suburban and agricultural landscapes.
Due to the high diversity of landscapes present within Ireland there is a need to treat management prescriptions for urban, suburban and agricultural landscapes separately, though the same fundamental management principles and objectives apply.
In 2006, the National Roads Authority published guidelines on landscaping with native species, i.e. “A Guide to Landscape Treatments for National Road Schemes in Ireland” (NRA, 2006). The guidelines also adopted the certification process in place for Irish provenance plant material as applicable under the Native Woodland Scheme.
The overriding principal in these guidelines is the Ecological Landscape Design approach. It sets out a creative framework which provides for the establishment, management and conservation of natural vegetation and habitats, biodiversity and the restoration of landscape quality during the development of infrastructure. In other words an ecological approach is the fundamental basis in the landscaping and management of new road schemes and this principle is just as valid in other urban, semi-urban and agricultural landscapes. When applying the principles of Ecological Landscape Design, a designer utilises native plant material of Irish provenance in an environmentally sustainable and cost-effective way through the mimicking and empathetic management of natural resources.
See the NRA website for 'Guidelines on the Implementation of Landscape Treatment on National Road Schemes in Ireland' and 'A Guide to Landscape Treatments for National Road Schemes in Ireland'