So, you’ve probably heard the term “sustainable landscaping” but, do you know what it means? Simply put, sustainable landscaping considers the environment with the goal to reduce air, water, soil contaminates and to reuse as much as possible in the landscape. This is to the benefit of all of us! Additionally, it saves money, and we all like to do that.
The warm and sunny weather this week has all of us in the green industry getting ready to begin full operations! I think it’s important for us to understand what sustainable landscaping is and why we should be practicing the basic principles.
If you think about it, keeping plants in their best health prevents a lot of headaches. For example, when grass gets stressed due to lack of water, weeds are more likely to grow. Then a typical solution is to spray an herbicide on those weeds. When trees and shrubs aren’t pruned properly – they can be susceptible to damage from snow and wind and then insects can invade. So, keeping the plants healthy in our yards prevents us from spending money to fix the problems that we may have been able to avoid to begin with.
Another helpful idea to keep your turf healthy is to use a mulching lawnmower. The grass clippings help because they eventually provide nutrients back into the soil.
From a design stand-point (as you know I think landscape design is key for any project you’re thinking about), you should start with a good plan and try and use as many local materials as possible. Additionally, think about how you can you re-use any materials from your yard in your new design plan. Maybe a product you’re using for one purpose may have value and used in a different application.
Before you plant, make sure you know what condition your soil is in. Healthy plants start with good soil. A soil test kit is a way to see what amendments you may need to help get your soil ready for growing healthy plants. You can buy the nicest looking plants at your local nursery or garden center but, if they don’t have good soil to grow in, they just won’t flourish!
If you haven’t started your own compost pile at home, I would highly recommend this. By using some food waste and plant materials, you can have your own nutrient rich amendment for free!
In consideration of plant materials, try and transplant and re-use as many of your existing plants as possible. When you buy new plant materials for your yard, buy plants that have lower water requirements. You should also group plants together that have similar watering needs so you’re not wasting water.
Another way to avoid using too much water is to install a water-efficient irrigation system. By upgrading your current system’s to the newest water saving controllers, sprayers and use of drip lines to your plant you can save water and money. Also, consider having a smart irrigation controller installed or at a minimum, install a rain sensor.
With a few simple practices, you can help keep your yard looking great and help protect our environment. Remember, with a little planning in the beginning – good practices can easily become good habits and then we all can enjoy the benefits!
Click here to view my appearance today on Channel 7 about sustainable landscaping: