If you're planning a new look for your yard, you might be curious about the benefits of sustainable landscape architecture. Thinking about sustainability in your yard and garden design is great for the planet and might just make your life easier as well.
What is Sustainable Landscape Architecture?
Before we get to the benefits of sustainable landscape architecture, we need to know what the term really means. Much like when you're talking about sustainable agriculture, sustainable landscaping means that ecological, social and economic aspects are considered when implementing a plan.
For example, installing a green roof in which the roof of a building is planted rather than using traditional dark-colored roofing materials helps manage water in the area where it is located, cuts down on cooling costs, provides a space for wildlife and humans to enjoy, and contributes to a healthier ecology for the planet on a very small scale.
Similar ideas can be taken into consideration when designing your own sustainable projects.
Xeriscaping and Sustainability
One of the simplest ways to use a more sustainable landscape design is by choosing plants and other features that require less water. This concept is known as xeriscaping, and it's quite popular among people in the western United States who don't want to have to spend an arm and a leg to keep a green yard lush through the summer months.
Xeriscaped yards often don't use the kind of grass you are used to. They might involve some hardy ornamental grasses, as well as the use of gravel or rocks for decorative purposes and to take up landscape so you have less area that needs to be watered.
Choosing plants that work well in your natural environment also helps you to use less water, which is a great choice for sustainability.
Every area of the country and the world has specific plants that naturally thrive there. Some garden centers are getting wise to the idea that plants that naturally grow in an area are a good choice, not only for sustainability but also for the ease of care.
Some state or county cooperative extension services have lists of local plants that you should consider buying and putting in your garden. If yours does not have such a list, they should be able to provide you with some ideas of native plants that would do well with minimal watering and stress on the land.
Some of these plants might even be heirlooms or plants that need to be protected because they aren't the preferred hybrids that everyone plants. That takes sustainability to a whole new level.
The Benefits of Sustainable Landscape Architecture
There are many benefits to having a landscape designed with sustainable principles in mind. First, when you are being mindful of making sustainable choices, you will put more thought into every decision, from the plants you choose to the furniture you use. This can give you a more pleasing space because you really considered every aspect of your decision.
Sustainable landscape architecture is better for the planet because it tends to use less water. Additionally, if you are using organic methods, there will not be any pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals involved.
Using local plants may allow you to support the local economy more than you would if you just purchased plants locally that were grown elsewhere. It may give you a chance to get to know local growers, which makes you feel more connected to the plants and the planet.
Choosing a sustainable plan that uses xeriscaping techniques will put less strain on your plants, because they will have been chosen for their suitability to your environment. Again, you'll use less water and enjoy the beauty of your garden even more knowing that it is not harming the planet.
Having a sustainable landscape design probably means your yard won't look like everyone else's. However, it will be a lovely space that takes into consideration the health of the planet and the immediate landscape as well as aesthetic concerns.