November 5, 2021

Landscape Design: Goals for Sustainability

NY Hilltop Landscaping

Table of Contents

Landscape architects invest in the landscape design goals for the sustainability of their projects. It is their responsibility to plan, manage, and evaluate the landscape. This entails not only managing human activities that affect it. But also assessing landscape values and considering change over time.

One of the most sustainable professions is landscape architecture. Landscape architects must focus on their role as environmental stewards when they want to achieve sustainability in the design.

What are Landscape Goals?

Landscape goals are the architecture activities that they consider in planning. In landscape design, architects must consider goals like how they will affect nature and the environment.

Sustainability is also one of the landscape design goals. It requires a landscape architect to eliminate negative effects on nature and the environment. The goal is to ensure an improvement over time and reduce any potential damage at every stage of project development.

Climate Regulation: Landscapes improve climate regulation by acting as temperature regulators, climate stabilizers, and carbon sinks. These prevent or mitigate harmful conditions of climate change such as flooding or drought causes. It is important not only during the process but also after finished construction.

Sustainability (Definition)

Sustainability is the landscape architecture’s goal in designing initiatives. It ensures that landscapes have an impact on nature and the environment for future generations.

Forms of Sustainability

There are different forms of landscape sustainability. Each has its own set of landscape design goals to consider when planning changes or management practices.

These include:

  • ecological
  • economic
  • aesthetic
  • educational
  • social
  • cultural
  • religious

Multi-functional landscape design is one of the most important goals for environmental sustainability. It ensures architects incorporate sustainable features in every project. These create public spaces people want to use while taking care of the environment at all costs.

Managing Storm or Rain Water

Water runoff can damage landscape design goals for sustainability. It adversely affects the landscape’s structure and composition. The water has erosive power that can destroy it. It might flood communities downstream ruining other landscape values as well without proper control.

Designing landscape initiatives should include goals for managing storms or rainwater. This includes preventing erosion by removing soil particles that can clog rivers and streams’ downslope. Potential sources of water runoff are roofs, roads, cultivated land, and so on.

Managing Water Quality

The landscape architects manage goals regarding water quality at every stage of project development. They define it as the physical, aesthetic, and chemical characteristics of a system or process (EPA).

Using Organic Fertilizers and Irrigation Controls

In landscape initiatives, architects use organic fertilizers. They also irrigate only when necessary for landscape design goals for sustainability. This conserves water and reduces the landscape’s dependence on it.

Engineer the landscape to filter out nutrients from fertilizer before they reach waterways. It also creates a landscape that contributes little to the nutrient loading of these waterways through stormwater runoff.

Where Are Sustainability Goals Most Important?

Sustainability landscape design goals are most important where natural resources and environmental impacts on nature and people are high:

Coastal areas: infrastructure development such as seawalls or dikes protect communities from flooding but reduces access to beaches and marshes.

Urban areas: this includes new landscapes or renovating old roads

Principles of Sustainable Landscaping

Gain insights on four sustainable landscaping principles. Below is a guide:

Water as a Resource

Landscape architects use rainwater instead of city water. They also reuse stormwater in landscape initiatives when possible.

Watering your landscaping well in advance is a great way to avoid any unnecessary strain on the system! It is an easy task that you can do at any time during summer. For World Water Conservation Day, there are some ways that you can conserve water while watering. Examples are using smart sprinklers or rain barrels for moisture retention purposes.

A change-up with what goes into these elements may also refresh their appearance! They do not look like last year’s leaves right when people drive up. You might also want to take advantage. Refresh certain parts instead of constantly putting fresh paint every single season.


Landscape design goals for sustainability involve protecting soil quality. You do that by planting grassy areas to soak up excess water rather than having it runoff into city drainage systems. Planting vegetation to soak up excess water is a great goal!

Strengthening landscapes with erosion control is another landscape design goal for sustainability. This prevents soil from washing away as well as harmful chemicals from entering rivers and streams.

Designing landscape initiatives with eco-friendly materials ensures the landscape becomes part of your home or business’ sustainable future. These make it easier for landscape architects to develop goals that satisfy certain needs. This is while protecting the environment at all costs.

They do this by using eco-friendly products, recycling waste landscape material where possible, and using recycled rocks and other landscaping supplies throughout projects when they are available locally. Help protect your planet along with landscape initiatives.  

Preserve existing plants

This includes trees to achieve landscape design goals for sustainability associated with introducing new flora. Using only the necessary landscape elements helps architects manage goals. It is important to use materials efficiently and reduce waste as much as possible throughout projects.


Reduce the number of hardscapes in your landscape initiatives by adding more vegetation. Doing this also reduces expenses that you would spend on maintenance costs over time, such as mowing or fertilizing lawns.

Incorporating native plants into landscape initiatives assists architects in their sustainable goals. Native plants evolve within a specific region. They adapt to local conditions such as soil type and climate. This makes them efficient water users and great at propagating themselves! 

Conserve Materials

Reduce landscape waste by using supplies efficiently. Plan the landscape from scratch to avoid unnecessary usage of elements. This reduces expenses and can improve your landscape design goals for sustainability overall.

Trees help a landscape’s sustainable goals in many ways. They prohibit construction runoff from entering waterways. After all, they have extensive root systems that absorb water, hold the soil together, and support other plants around them.

Another way trees serve landscape initiatives is by turning carbon dioxide into oxygen. Trees do this with tiny pores called stomata on leaves. Reducing pollution helps everyone breathe easier.

Avoid Exotic Species

Using eco-friendly materials also includes avoiding exotic species of plants or vegetation that cannot adapt to landscape initiatives. Using these can harm your landscape design goals for sustainability as well as the environment around you. Invasive exotic species spread from landscape to landscape, killing off other plant life along the way.

Consider Maintenance

When architects develop landscape design goals for sustainability, they think of long-term effects. Maintenance costs over time play a vital role in the landscape initiatives you create. They prefer landscaping supplies or materials that can help reduce maintenance needs.

The landscape design goals for sustainability that architects plan to take into account are the environmental impact on your surroundings. These include topography, soil conditions, drainage patterns, and climate changes throughout the year.

Some plants cannot survive in certain areas due to colder temperatures or drought-like conditions during autumn or summer. Taking these factors into consideration helps landscape architects determine what plants grow best in specific parts of your project!

Design Intent

Learn more about three factors that can create your landscape design. Here they are:


This involves design criteria such as color, line, shape, and texture. It also includes landscape design goals for sustainability that architects incorporate into their landscape initiatives.

Experts define aesthetics as the study of beauty, especially when about nature. This is what aesthetic landscape truly means. Paying attention and caring for your yard in a way that will make you feel good about yourself and maybe even inspire others.

An “aesthetic” or “landscape” has two meanings. One refers specifically to art. Another denotes scenery that may enhance your enjoyment rather than distract from life and gaiety. Provide plenty of emphasis on objects outside your immediate environment.

Form Function

Form follows function is an important idea first attributed to American architect Louis Sullivan. His approach was quite easy for people of his period. They were struggling with urbanization and economic growth in America. Grasp it because there were not thousands upon millions yet trying to decide what their homes’ new forms should look like.

But more importantly than that, he says that the way you use your house reflects not just on you as individuals. For example, your backyard looks beautiful but cannot meet its inhabitants’ needs.

The site of your landscape design has tough conditions like high winds or heavy rainfall. Architects may suggest using plants that can withstand those conditions. This accomplishes your landscape design goal for sustainability.

Ecosystem benefits

This is about the ecological role of landscapes. They are part of natural ecosystems, which include plants, animals, insects, fungi, bacteria, and viruses.

Trees are some of the most important elements of landscape initiatives. They provide shade and cooler air temperature around homes or businesses. The landscape architects also use shrubs to protect soil from erosion through wind or water.

Make sure that you take into account all landscape design goals for sustainability before making any final decisions on architecture. This will create an initiative that will enhance your home as well as its surroundings.


Who will use the landscape?

Landscaping design goals for sustainability are important to architects. But they need to include everyone in your landscape initiative. You must decide on the landscape needs of everybody who will use it.

Designing a landscape around the needs of single people or a family can entail different design criteria. Consider their lifestyles and how they use the landscape. Otherwise, you may end up with a landscape design goal for sustainability that is not as effective as intended.

What Do You Need in The Landscape?

Before architects can create landscape design goals for sustainability, they must know what you want in your project.

Do you like plants while your spouse prefers trees and bushes? Do you care about formal landscape architecture or do you prefer DIY projects? Do you need an irrigation system to water plants during the summer months or maybe some lawn space for kids to play on?

Answering these questions helps architects create landscape design goals for sustainability that also include your needs. One of the best things to do before getting into landscape design is figuring out what you want. Afterward, it is much easier for both yourself and any company involved with the project.

The time frame should also factor in when planning your yard. Maybe start small by adding one element at first until you establish them all.

When will you use the property?

The landscape design goals for sustainability are different depending on the time of day you use it. For example, what do they need to look like in the morning when people are leaving for work? What about after dinner when family comes together?

Do not forget working spaces around your home either. Consider all landscape design goals for sustainability that are important for your lawn or garden in terms of where plants grow, how flowers blossom, and where trees establish roots. Plan accordingly by doing some brainstorming with landscape architects before they begin their duty.

Why do you want to make changes now?

Perhaps landscape design goals for sustainability are not at the top of your list right now. You may become content with how your lawn or garden looks. But maybe you want to make some changes anyway.

Asking yourself this question encourages landscape architects to figure out what they can do for you. Sometimes, projects consist of several phases because homeowners cannot afford them from the start. So they need to save up a little bit before continuing with their landscape initiatives.

Before hiring a landscape architect, decide on landscape goals for sustainability by figuring out what kind of property you have. Know what you want it to look like in terms of flora and fauna.

How will you use your yard?

As landscape architects make landscape design goals for sustainability, they must consider certain criteria. They ask what you will do in the landscape and how often.

Do you enjoy spending time there? Do you want a place for kids to play? Will your garden also serve as a working space? Consider all landscape design goals for sustainability that will benefit your property and use it as much as possible.

Once architects know these answers, they can create designs that fit your needs precisely. Remember to have sustainable projects so they do not need constant upkeep or restoration after several years.

Landscape architects recommend applying as many design goals for sustainability as you can. Make your outdoor space splendid and eco-friendly!


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