Landscaping for Public Parks

Urbanization is growing bigger and bigger as we have a bigger population to contend with and people flock to cities for work and cultural activities. That doesn’t mean that green spaces should be neglected, but rather they should be embraced.

They can be enormous national parks, perfect for walking the dog, or smaller, multi-use parks in residential areas for the kids to play and the adults to catch up. In inner cities and urban areas, we often miss the color green, despite it being so valuable to our mental health, that’s why we need to incorporate public parks into urban design.

Why are Publics Parks Important?

The Effect of Parks on Socializing and Resting

Public parks have many uses for all generations, and that’s part of the charm. The community can come together for various different activities, all in the same area, at the same time. Usually, a multi-use park will have a large green space for sports activities, from organized soccer and rugby to simple games of catch and frisbee with the family. Parks are a great place to socialize, either going for a walk with friends, nipping out for a coffee in the sunshine, or maybe even a picnic. We even use them for a moment of peace when we need to get out of the busy city streets and have some time alone surrounded by nature. Parks are that escape from the hectic world of business and, well, urban life.

The Effect of Parks on Spor

You've probably heard of many health problems that result from a lack of physical activity. The sedentary lifestyle of many urbanites today leads to obesity, which can cause a range of health problems, including certain types of cancer and heart disease. Parks make a neighborhood more enjoyable to walk and encourage physical activity by providing space for popular sports. It provides hiking trails and other amenities designed to get people active. Given how many people are under-exercising, this is incredibly important, especially for low-income families and others who can't afford gym memberships or classes. Parks provide places for people to experience nature, engage in physical activity, and relax. But public parks in urban neighborhoods are critical resources for physical activity and sport, especially in low-income communities. Because proximity to residences is strongly associated with physical activity and park use, the number and location of neighborhood parks should be sufficient to serve the entire community well.

Environmental Impacts of Parks

Parks are an integral part of the wider natural ecosystem, a habitat not only for humans but for both flora and fauna. Parks are a natural habitat for animals that have lost their homes due to urban sprawl increasing at an incredible rate. In addition, parks are literally the lungs of a city. When it comes to air pollution, it is only these huge green spaces like woodland and parks that can actively reduce pollutants. Small parks in neighborhoods and larger parks combine to form a green belt in the entire city. This green belt becomes a carbon sink and cleans the air.

At the same time, parks significantly reduce the effects of heat islands caused by masses of concrete in cities and provide cooling for urban areas. In intense heat fluctuations in summer, they moderate the effect of air temperature. In heavy rainfall, parks in cities act like sponges and reduce the impact of floods. Not only in precipitation but also in extreme winds and storms, the parks become the shield of the city acting as a barrier.

From this point of view, parks are crucial to sustaining the right to a better environment, clean air, and healthy living. In addition to providing people space to relax and rest, it also has a very important task in reducing the effects of global warming and making the city livable

So How do you Landscape for a Public Park?

Each purpose for using the park has different requirements, we’ve put together a list of some of the principles that must be considered in the park landscape, regardless of the purpose of use:

  • Plants and shrubs that do not require maintenance or require low maintenance should be used in parks, and large trees that provide shade should be preferred if possible.
  • Utilizing grassland and pasture types that do not require much maintenance instead of grass should be considered
  • Urban furniture and children's play equipment must be made of sustainable natural materials and comply with international safety standards.
  • Issues related to irrigation should be planned very well and water loss should be prevented.
  • Roads and sports fields should be constructed as permeable to not retain water.
  • There should be areas in the parks where people can do sports comfortably. Continuing bicycle paths connected to each other in parks should be a part of transportation.

    We have brought together the different conditions required by the different usage purposes and different functions of the parks below.


The needs of the community should be the priority when it comes to sports, skate parks can be great for areas with a lot of teens to practice or use socially but they’ll be largely unused in areas with an older population. Likewise fitness equipment and basketball hoops can be great additions for families and teens but might be an unnecessary waste of space otherwise.


Multi-use sports fields are great in large parks so visitors can be treated to a casual game of soccer, or rugby or just play catch with family or friends. You’ll need painted lines and goalposts that ideally double up as rugby posts for the two sports. If you have the space for a full soccer pitch, fantastic, but many parks don’t and large flat green spaces work equally well. Remember jumpers for goalposts? It’s not a thing of the past just yet, so make sure you have a large enough green area so people can use it for any sports they fancy and even have room at the sides for picnics.


A classic picnic involves a blanket and sitting on the floor so make sure you’ve got some lush green grass for your visitors to park themselves on. But not all of us feel like sitting on the floor to eat… Add some decent picnic benches with a table in the middle so your older visitors can enjoy their lunch outside without the struggle of getting up afterward. Pergolas make great shade for picnic areas but large trees should also be utilized to provide shade for those seeking some respite from the summer sun or harsh winter winds and rain.


There’s also nothing worse than enjoying a nice picnic in the park and there being nowhere to put your empty packets or seeing other people leave their litter behind. Make sure you install trash cans around the green spaces for your visitors, and maybe even drinking fountains for your picnic-ers and sports stars.

Play Areas

It’s not just adults that enjoy having different sections of a park to enjoy, but children do too. As well as having a playground, with classic swings and slides and other new, interesting features, why not try adding an interactive water feature for the kids to play in in the summer heat and small seating areas to rest and read a book or eat with friends away from the parents after a day of play. Of course you’ll also need trash cans and benches for parents to sit and make sure their little ones are safe and happy.


It can be a great thing for your mental health to go for a walk in the park, especially if you’re living and working in an urban environment. Even if your green area isn’t the largest, you can still make the most of it with winding pavements and other features to draw the eye such as ponds, water fountains and small formal gardens. You should make them wide enough for passing traffic in both directions and if possible have space for cyclists and roller skaters too.

It’s not just people that enjoy walks, however, we also need space for our dogs. Small patches of woodland as well as dog-friendly green areas are perfect for dog-walkers, and benches, dog bag dispensers and dog waste cans are all essential features to make public parks more practical for dog owners who often feel disregarded by green spaces in cities.


Not only do you need a section for wildlife to enjoy, but you also need to allow your visitors to enjoy the wildlife too. An area of woodland is perfect for a large public park, maybe even with a natural waterway or manmade stream, however wild areas of long grasses and trees will also look great on a smaller scale, especially if the features are kept there from an existing landscape. Wildflower gardens make for great areas of natural beauty that butterflies and bees love, as well as bamboo houses, log piles and birdhouses up in the trees to house your wildlife and give your visitors the chance to spot something marvelous. Help them out with informative signs placed around so they can learn while they watch nature thrive.


Public parks have so much to offer our communities at all levels and all walks of life, so must be designed well in order for them to be used and not be neglected. A well-designed public park will have visitors all year-long, come rain or shine. But they need good landscape designers to work with the existing landscape, as well as the involvement of the community to lay out their needs, in order to achieve this.

 At Karaoglu, we have the experience and expertise to design landscapes across all industries, including parks and play areas, in the Mediterranean, Balkans, Middle East and the Caucuses. Check out our gallery pages to see our previous work, or read our article on landscape design to find out more.

Karaoğlu Peyzaj olarak, Akdeniz’de, Balkanlar’da, Orta Doğu’da ve Kafkaslar’da park ve oyun alanları da dahil olmak üzere her sektörde peyzaj tasarımı ve uygulaması deneyimine sahibiz. Daha önce yapmış olduğumuz projeleri görmek için galeri sayfalarımıza veya peyzaj tasarımıyla ilgili blog yazımıza göz atabilirsiniz.

Nesrin Karaoglu Otuzoglu

Written by Nesrin Karaoglu Otuzoglu

Nesrin Karaoğlu Otuzoğlu graduated as a Landscape Architect from the Department of Landscape Architecture of Ankara University’s Faculty of Agriculture. After graduation, she worked in the Netherlands with Ton Van Den Oever and Brabantplant B.V. She is a Founding Partner and Member of the Board of Directors at Karaoglu Landscape and a Founding Partner and Member of 3K Construction and Foreign Trade Ltd. She is also a founder and partner of Adaplant, which produces ornamental plants at international standards with Dutch know-how. Karaoglu Landscape was chosen as ‘’One of the Best Managed Companies’’ by Deloitte Private in 2018, as well as ‘’European Business Awards Turkey Champion’’. The company was listed in the "100 fastest growing companies in Turkey" by TOBB and TEPAV in 2019.

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