Sustainable design in landscaping not only creates an attractive space on your property – it’s also good for the environment. Work with the features and characteristics of your land to create an outdoor space that reduces outside input, reuses natural resources and recycles items bound for the landfill. Designing your property with sustainable landscaping in mind should give you an attractive piece of land that doesn’t require as much maintenance as a traditional garden. Sustainable design in landscaping means your property will be in balance with the place you live. Since you’re working with the land, you won’t need to input as much fertilizer, compost or other additives to your garden. The land will do most of it for you.
Sustainable design in landscaping helps you conserve natural resources, reduce your carbon footprint and maintain your land with byproducts of the land itself. It combines manmade tools like lawn mowers and fertilizer with local soil and rainwater to create a space that is easy to maintain and stands up to local conditions. Grass clippings, for example, can be left on the ground after mowing to help nourish your lawn – and the landscaping is still sustainable when you use your gas-powered mower. (Some mowers even have mulching settings.) It’s not about the total elimination of non-natural tools; it’s about reducing the need for them.
Sustainable design offers many benefits to homeowners. Since you can incorporate compost, storm water and found items into your garden, you spend less on its maintenance. By reducing the size of your lawn and replacing grass with local shrubs and plants, less time is spent mowing a large expanse of grass. Your landscape will thrive when non-sustainable pieces of land wither under harsh conditions because the native plants you choose grow naturally in the soil on your property. When others are scrambling to water plants and fend off pests, your landscape will still be attractive and functional.
In addition to the benefits, sustainable landscaping is important for the planet. People who create large gardens that aren’t sustainable use many natural resources that aren’t so easy to replace. Large lawns need lots of water to thrive and mowing them pollutes the air and ground. Many items that end up in landfills can be reused on your property: leftovers can be composted to feed plants and old pieces of wood can be built into garden planters. When plants are put into soil and a landscape that isn’t meant to support them, extra fertilizer and water must be used; with native plants, less of both is required from outside your property.
Make a few small changes to create a sustainable design for landscaping on your property. Instead of using harsh chemicals and non-native plants, bring earth-friendly alternatives and native foliage. Instead of purchasing new walkways, try crushing stone from a recent construction project and laying it down to create a path. Gather water that has fallen from your rain chains to a collection barrel and use that to hydrate your plants instead of water from the hose. Build retaining walls to reduce erosion using natural or recycled stone. Choose plants that thrive in the soil you have so you don’t have to add chemicals to help them grow. Your landscape – and the planet – will thank you.