06.27.2014
The Key to Sustainable Landscaping

As the word suggests, sustainable landscaping should be easy to sustain or maintain, compliment the environment by including plants native to the region, incorporate renewable materials and if possible, improve the health and energy usage in the surrounding area.

Experts in the field often cite reasons such as global climate change, water shortages and drought, energy usage, air pollution, waste management and soil health to consider transforming a traditional flowerbed or lawn into a truly sustainable landscape design. While an individual green landscaping project won’t rectify all these concerns, a proper plan can save the homeowner time and money while making a positive impact on the environment.

Planning is essential when preparing a sustainable landscape design. Small projects can be accomplished through research and property evaluation. Larger projects may require professional assistance. Regardless, similar concepts are implemented during the conceptual design stage. Investing in a soil test kit will set the stage for a successful transformation from traditional to ecological landscaping. Amending soil conditions may be necessary to provide the ideal environment for perennial growth. Composting is also an excellent method for maintaining healthy soil.

Drainage and controlled rainwater runoff are also necessary components. The use of natural mulch can maintain moisture. Also, introducing porous paving materials to the design allows rainwater to drain back into groundwater sources instead of being wasted as surface runoff.

The most critical component to establishing the proper design is plant selection. Careful consideration should be given to characteristics such as type, size, native region, light requirements, seasonal interest and hardiness to local conditions. Professional landscape designers are well-versed in combining a pleasing composition with environmentally-efficient plant placement. Encouraging wildlife such as birds and butterflies through choice plants can add an entertainment element for years of enjoyment.

Energy efficiency can be gained through a variety of design plans such as proper selection and placement of shade trees, establishing wind breaks, use of grey water irrigation (shower and sink water), rainwater harvesting and even solar garden lighting. Additional conservation ideas can be found through internet resources or professional garden centers.

While the initial cost of a sustainable landscape design may exceed a traditional design, significant savings can be achieved through lower maintenance costs, less water use, reduced waste and labor. Adding sustainable landscaping to an existing property can establish value and beauty. With a little research and planning, even the simplest adjustments can provide an aesthetically pleasing design that is also good for the environment.

The guys at Sunflower Landscapes are your local Colorado Springs sustainable landscape design professionals. They would be glad to help assist with your landscape design ideas and train you on how to properly maintain them as well! Just give them a call, or fill out their contact form here: CONTACT US.