Published on February 21st, 2017 | by Guest Contributor4
Sustainable Landscaping: What it is and How to get it Right
With sustainable landscaping, your yard and garden design can simultaneously address aesthetics and amenity, water management, air quality, climate modification, biodiversity, habitat creation and local food production — and it can help warm and cool your house!
However, traditional landscaping techniques have proven to have wasteful dependencies on fossil fuels, chemicals and to be responsible for erosion of surface and ground waters.
Such problems gave birth to the practice of sustainable landscaping. Sustainable landscape design is adaptive and responsive to the surrounding environment. This practice of landscaping eliminates the use of fossil fuels and chemicals, and promotes a rich and diverse community of plant life. It uses only native or adapted, non-invasive plant species and reduces water usage by actively using rainfall and runoff and absorbing it in the same place.
Advantages of Sustainable Landscaping
- Sustainable landscaping minimises the area covered by water-repelling surfaces. This reduces the water runoff, subsequently maintaining the natural hydrologic cycle of the area.
- It promotes the use of long lived, native or adapted non-invasive plants, which diminishes the need of using man made chemical fertilisers.
- Sustainable landscaping supports local ecosystems.
- Promotes diversity for a number of living organisms. This strengthens the resilience of the ecosystem.
- Rebuilds soil structure and replenishes soil health.
- Integrates food production in the landscape.
These are just a few of the advantages of sustainable landscaping and gardening. This model of landscaping uses water as a resource, while reducing runoff and erosion in the soil.
Principles of Sustainable Landscaping
Treat water as a valuable resource- Water scarcity is at an all time high. A sustainable landscape design focuses on smart plant selection, creating collection points and rain gardens to utilise rainwater and stormwater.
Plan and design
Begin by analysing the site and weather conditions. For instance, if you live in Sydney, consider the fact that the weather is sunny most of the year and use trees and vines for shade and temperature control. You can check out some great examples of landscaping in Sydney.
Consider soil composition, slope and need for amendment. Make use of deep rooted perennials and grass to hold the soil together and prevent runoff. It is likely that the soil near your home is compacted, which causes runoff, a major factor behind water pollution. There are always choices you can make to fix that.
Choice of plants
Only choose native or non-invasive plants. Try and find plants that require minimal amount of water. Group plants together according to water, sun/shade or soil requirements. Try and keep the lawn area to a minimum, as it consumes the highest amount of water and requires constant attention.
All landscapes require some level of maintenance. However, maintaining a sustainable landscape much less work and a lot cheaper. Only thing to keep in mind is to not be wasteful. Mow lawns higher, use water mindfully and try adapting to changing weather conditions. If you absolutely have to use fertilisers, make sure you are using only organic products as they do not contribute to runoff or erosion.
If you are making landscaping plans for your home, we hope that this blog post has motivated you to employ sustainable practices. These are not just cheaper, but help you do your part in putting back a piece of nature right where it belongs.