There are a lot of new trends in the world of landscaping. However, out of all of these, sustainability may be the most widespread—and the most important.
By crafting a sustainable backyard and landscape, you’ll better align your property with the surrounding natural environment and help to conserve precious resources. You’ll also be able to cut down on your environmental footprint and could even work to undo previous damage done to the environment.
But what exactly is a sustainable landscape? It sounds like a great idea, but is this type of landscape easy—and cost-effective—to actually implement? Well, we’re here to answer your questions on sustainable landscape design and help you turn this concept into a reality for your own yard.
Here, we’re taking a closer look at sustainability and what it takes to actually implement your own sustainable landscape. We also provide some practical (and relatively simple) tips for making your landscape more sustainable. Now more than ever, it’s important to do your part to protect the natural environment. Do your part by making your yard more sustainable.
WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY?
Sustainability is one of those terms that we often hear in everyday conversation, but may not completely understand what it means. Sustainability isn’t a thing itself, but rather, a concept that can be applied to a wide variety of industries and practices.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sustainability is based on the principle that, whether directly or indirectly, everything we need comes from the environment and we need to protect and conserve these resources. To enact sustainability is “to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.”
WHAT IS A SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE DESIGN?
Now that we have a better understanding of sustainability as a concept, it’s time to apply it to landscaping and landscape design. What really does it mean to have a sustainable landscape? Some people may falsely believe that a sustainable landscape is one that is simply untouched or as “natural” as possible with little human intervention.
While leaving open space and allowing native flora and fauna to thrive are both important qualities for sustainability, it’s not the complete story. You can design your landscape how you want, and through sustainable practices, still make a positive impact on the environment.
A sustainable landscape is one that infuses itself with the surrounding environment. Sustainable landscapes respond to the environment, reduce the strain on natural resources like water, and can even help restore the quality of the surrounding environment.
Essentially, using sustainability as a guiding principle for your landscape design allows your yard to work with—not against—the environment.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR BACKYARD LANDSCAPING MORE SUSTAINABLE
Protecting the environment and allowing your landscape to thrive all at once sounds great—but is a sustainable landscape really achievable?
It may initially sound daunting, especially if you’ve already developed your landscape, but there are several easy and relatively cheap ways to make your landscape more sustainable.
Remember, you shouldn’t initially aim for complete sustainability. To do so, you’d have to pretty much leave the land untouched. Instead, focus on making smaller steps toward a landscape that is better attuned to the surrounding environment.
Here are some tips for making your landscape more sustainable:
- Native plants: incorporating native plants, flowers, and trees into your landscape is one of the best ways to work toward sustainability. Do a little research or visit a local nursery to learn about the flowers and trees that don’t just survive—but thrive—in your local environment. Native plants will also save you time and money since they’ve evolved in that local climate. They can also serve as a food source for local animals, birds, and insects.
- Grow plants in pots: to conserve open space, consider growing some or all of your plants in pots. This allows you more control over their location and helps you conserve water and other critical resources. For a bonus, pot some natural pollinators to help your local bee population.
- Grasscycling: no, this isn’t about riding a bicycle made out of the grass. Grasscycling refers to the process of recycling your grass clippings after you mow instead of simply throwing them out. Grasscycling reduces your need for excessive fertilizers and helps return nutrients to the soil. This practice even protects your lawn by providing shade and nutrients to the lawn.
- Permeable surfaces: when paving your landscape, try to use permeable materials, such as gravel or sand, instead of concrete so that you reduce the runoff on your property. Following heavy rain, runoff can fill the local water table with chemicals and fertilizers and even lead to flooding. Permeable surfaces help you manage runoff and will prevent erosion on your property.
- Reduce your use of fertilizers and pest control: synthetic chemicals and fertilizers can be harmful to the environment, especially when they’re flushed away by runoff where they can concentrate in the water and soil. Only use fertilizers and pest control when absolutely necessary and use as little as possible.
CONCLUSION – HOW TO MAKE YOUR BACKYARD LANDSCAPING MORE SUSTAINABLE
Our planet is facing multiple threats. With pollution, plastic waste, habitat loss, and the growing effects of climate change, our natural environment needs us now more than ever. While one person can’t reverse all the damage from all these threats, you can do your part by working to make your backyard landscape more sustainable. You don’t even need to completely xeriscape your yard or leave this space untouched. There are several simple ways that you can protect the environment through a sustainable landscape design.
Planting native flowers, trees, and shrubs will help your landscape thrive and reduce your use of water and fertilizers. You can also pot your plants, practice Grasscycling after you mow, and use a rain barrel to collect and store runoff. Designing your landscape is all about choices. By making sustainable choices for your property, you’ll be helping to protect our natural environment and conserve our precious resources.