March 21, 2014

Sustainability. What does it mean to you in regards to your landscaping?

Sustainability is everywhere these days, and rightly so! Our society has become one that views everything as disposable.  If it breaks, we buy a new one instead of fixing it.  If it is old, we want the best new thing instead of the thing that actually still works pretty darn good.

Oak Tree Along Country Road

          How does this apply to landscaping? There are many ways to build a sustainable landscape.  Here are a few ideas below:

* Reuse existing hardscape material – This is not always possible, and doesn’t’ always save money due to the extra labor that can be involved in cleaning and preparing the material, but it keeps it out of the landfill. We can look at what you have existing and see if it is feasible to use in your desired application, or we can see if it can be recycled or be used in another creative way.

* Use plants that will not outgrow their space – All too often plants are placed in an area that they will outgrow within years of installation.   Always check tags, but don’t always trust them 100%.  Some tags give a 10 year growth size.  Plants don’t just stop growing after 10 years.  Do your research and don’t make a mistake that will have you ripping out the old, only to start over again after 10 years.

* Work with the site, not against it – If you have clay soil, use plants   that do well in clay soil.  If you have sandy soil, use plants that do well in sandy soil.  The cost of amending the soil can be great.  There are many plants that will work in most conditions and if the right plants are chosen, it makes for a long term sustainable landscape.

* Using plant material to alter climate – The use of trees for shade or a wind block can reduce energy consumption from heating or air conditioning.  Strategically placed shade trees can reduce air conditioning cost by up to 30% according to the Department of Natural Resources.  In addition between a 10-50% reduction can be seen when using windbreaks to reduce heating costs.

These are a few ways that sustainability applies to your landscape, although each site is unique and a site analysis will be done to determine the best course of action for each individual site we visit.  Sustainability ensures economic stability and prosperity as well as protecting the natural environment and the efficient use of resources.  If we all do our part we can make a difference.