Sustainable landscaping is a very broad term that can mean many different things. It typically means designing and caring for your yard, garden, and other outdoor spaces. This is in a way that does not deplete resources and damages the environment.
What is Sustainable Landscaping?
This form of landscaping encourages homeowners to plant native species of plants, use water-saving irrigation methods, conserve energy, and recycle or reuse materials whenever possible. Planting native species is a key component of it. These kinds of plants are not as susceptible to environmental problems such as pests.
Using less than ideal types of grass or flowers that require considerable amounts of watering or fertilizing can cause harm to the environment with irresponsible use. Expert Long Island landscapers often rely on rainwater instead of tap.
It requires a lot of work and care, as well as the commitment to learn about the environment. There is no need to cost more money than traditional landscaping methods. You can also do it alongside other landscape designs. The creative effort can save your money overall. This is by lowering your water bill and reducing your carbon footprint.
Why More People are More Interested and Invested in Sustainable Landscaping?
There is a growing demand and interest in sustainable landscaping across the USA. It is because of the environmental issues that you face, such as drought and climate change. This form of landscaping can also save your money, which has elevated its popularity. Practices in this industry can also reduce stress on natural resources such as water and energy. These days, Long Island homeowners are more aware of the environment and what steps they need to take to make a positive difference.
Sustainable landscaping should fit your lifestyle and meet your needs for function and beauty. Healthy land that provides pleasure for years to come is your upcoming reward. The main idea behind it is using native plants to North America, maintaining soil health, controlling erosion, conserving energy, and protecting water quality.
Now that you have a general idea, here are some specific sustainable landscaping methods:
Native plants can adapt to their environment easily when planting is in the right spot. They may stay green for longer periods during dry seasons and survive better in harsh conditions. However, planting native species is a necessity. These kinds of plants require less watering and bring fewer pest problems. This is in contrast to nonnative organisms which might damage them faster.
Invasive weeds alter natural habitats by growing too quickly and choking out other vegetation. Professional Long Island landscapers avoid aggressive species that take over ecosystems when grown outside their usual range or habitat. They are hard to control.
Make a Plan and Evaluate your Landscape
Evaluate the site. Sustainable landscaping means creating a design that fits your existing or planned landscape. This can turn challenging when you do not know what to expect beyond the infrastructure, like elevation changes and soil type.
Avoid marginal areas. Sustainable landscapers avoid planting in marginal conditions such as steep slopes, dry soils, poor drainage areas, and other places where plants struggle to survive. However, you should learn more about the land and surrounding environment before doing anything else.
Doing this allows you to make better decisions and choices for future tasks. There is a specific problem that you can experience on a property. It can include water erosion or problems with runoff around your yard or garden area.
As your guide, below are eight steps that you can follow:
Plant Vegetation and Maintain a Healthy Soil
Sustainable landscaping is all about planting the right types of vegetation, as well as maintaining healthy soil. It targets soil health by reducing erosion and improving nutrients.
You might need to dig up old grass or weeds before putting in new plants. This process allows you to get rid of any disease. Add fertilizer, compost, manure, coffee grounds, and shredded leaves like pine needles to help improve the fertility of your soil. Make sure that it has appropriate acidity before planting trees and shrubs because they prefer acidic soils.
Local Long Island landscapers use wood chips or bark mulch. They are carbon-based materials for promoting life in the ground. It is an alternative instead of petroleum-based products like plastic like black weed matting.
Plant Native Plants
Native plants are the simplest and most cost-effective choices for sustainable landscaping. They utilize available water, nutrients, sunlight, and carbon dioxide better than nonnative species which need more maintenance.
Native Americans were able to farm using techniques that adapted to the environment in which they lived. Farming was an important source of food and relied on both cultivated plants, as well as gathered wild ones. This practice allowed Native American tribes living throughout different regions across North America enough sustenance. It was especially during harsh winters without having too much difficulty acquiring necessary nutrients from hunting or trapping animals native only found within those areas.
Here are some common native plants in North America that you can have:
· Grasses – blue grama grass, little bluestem, switchgrass
· Shrubs – ceanothus, manzanita
· Trees – Jeffrey pine, Oregon oak
Sustainable landscapers put water management at the forefront of their practice. This is because water is usually a limiting factor in most terrestrial and aquatic systems. It comes down to whether or not plants can access it effectively and efficiently. Water runoff leads to soil erosion and contaminates freshwater ecosystems with sediments, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and oil.
They use a catchment system that collects water from roofs and paved areas. Sustainable landscapers then utilize it as much as possible before recharging groundwater or clean septic tanks. Water infiltration is also one of the techniques used because plants need moisture to survive at all times.
Sustainable landscapers fertilize minimally because of the excessive nutrients from compost, manure, and mulch. It can harm soil, plants, and groundwater.
In addition, sustainable landscaping also uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for long-term care or even just spot treatments to control pests. Sustainable landscapers only use pesticides if there is no other option left when IPM fails. They also observe proper timing to avoid harming nontarget organisms. Bees and butterflies are among them that are very important in the ecosystem.
Sustainable landscapers take advantage of natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings that do the duty for them. This form of landscaping also has an IPM guide which you can consult to know more about pest management.
Reduce Grassy Areas or Reduce Turf Areas
Turf areas are usually composed of grasses and other nonnative ornamental plants. Eco-friendly landscapers limit them to only lawns or less than 50% because it uses a lot of resources. Instead, they choose native plants that do not need as much maintenance.
There is also a technique called xeriscaping which describes a type of landscaping for dry climates needing little water. In these areas, the average rainfall is less than 25 inches per year. Sustainable landscapers make use of its attributes by using low-water-consuming plants in their designs. It is best suited in regions with hot temperatures and limited rainfall where turfgrass will die. This method depends on how your climate affects the plant’s environment like soil conditions and available sunlight.
Recycle and Compost
Sustainable landscapers also use recycled mulch, compost, and wood chips. This type of landscaping needs eco-friendly materials to maintain its principles. Landscapers use natural alternatives like bark or straw instead of using plastic ones. In this way, they do not harm the environment.
Natural amendments like organic fertilizers improve soil conditions. They also add nutrients needed for healthy plant growth inside the garden while restoring the landscape’s original appearance. Sustainable landscapers recommend these to any kind of soil. This is especially if it is compacted or eroded via wind or water since they lose their structure.
Support Local Pollinators
Eco-friendly landscapers value the biodiversity of their natural environment. They know that pollinators are essential for plant reproduction and act as wildlife attractors. Sustainable landscaping improves habitats for these organisms. They need to move over the landscape’s different sections freely.
For bees, it is important to link all garden components. They need continuous flowers from spring until late summer or fall. These are for food, shelter, or nesting sites. Sustainable landscapers also provide habitat structures like birdhouses or bat houses in their designs. Birds and bats also aid in pest control.
Use Natural Herbicides and Fertilizers
These landscapers only use natural pest control methods. They avoid using chemicals or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It will harm the environment and of course, pollinators. Sustainable landscaping is eco-friendly and needs less work on its maintenance.
Positive Personal Health Benefits
The Sustainable Landscaper of the Year Awards winner is Vanessa Jones of Watertrough Gardening Company in Somerset, UK. She says that sustainable landscaping requires a lot of physical effort. It can affect your health positively if you do it regularly.
Sustainable landscaping also improves your mood by offering fresh air and some relaxing time while just enjoying nature’s beauty. These effects lessen the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
Making the switch to sustainable landscaping is more affordable than you think. Not only will your yard look better. Using environmentally friendly and convenient practices for maintaining it can save time in comparison to other methods of lawn care.