Great Green Landscaping Practices to Promote Sustainability
Green landscaping isn’t just about choosing the plants, flowers, and shrubbery that are the most aesthetically pleasing. This type of gardening methodology looks at the synergistic relationship of choosing the right plants, your water use and the reduction of resources needed to maintain your lawn. In essence, you are a creating your own ecosystem that is rich in the biodiversity of your location.
Does that sound like something that appeals to your green thumb? Here are some great ways to incorporate many easy-to-do and beneficial practices in your next landscaping project that will make your yard a more eco-friendly place to enjoy.
1. The Quality of Your Dirt Matters
Healthy plants need healthy places to grow. This means your first and foremost objective will be to increase the fertility of your soil by adding nutrients it might lack. The trick to green landscaping, though, is that these types of fertilizers are pesticide-free and all-natural, contributing to the creation of a sustainable ecosystem in your backyard.
An ecosystem that operates at maximum natural efficiency will be extremely important in maintaining and creating biodiversity. Your efforts will provide you with an opportunity to grow your own produce, herbs, and plants – ultimately saving you money in the long run on simple things like your weekly grocery bill.
2. Your Compost Is King
You know that fertilizing your soil is the first step to creating a rich environment for your plants to grow and thrive. Rather than purchasing organic matter to enrich the soil, take your sustainable landscaping finesse one step further and recycle your food scraps through composting. You’ll create a cyclical process that reduces food waste, which keeps your soil healthy in order to grow beautiful plants and veggies.
3. Prevent Runoff and Erosion
The structure of your landscaping project is also vital in keeping that rich soil you’ve created from running away before it does its job. Design and orientation of your garden elements help utilize the best natural light, provides drainage and makes it easier to trap rainwater for reuse. These methods are important whether you have a large yard or small urban space to green up.
For those areas that have more space to cover, soil erosion could be a bigger concern. One way to remedy this naturally is by looking at different methods of planting and fertilizing, like hydroseeding. This method combines seed, fertilizer, and water to create a slurry that will promote vegetation. The slurry is then sprayed on the land that needs planting and is often used in landscaping projects that need sustainable options.
4. Be Water-Efficient
Water efficiency and conservation is also a large part of green landscaping. Water shouldn’t be treated as an endless resource. Water harvesting is one way to make your new yard self-sufficient, and there are some great DIYs out there to make it quick and simple. You can also consider xeriscaping, which essentially groups the plants you’ve chosen with the same water needs together. It is also a way to create a drought-resistant garden.
5. Use Recycled and Repurposed Goods
The key to sustainability is giving a longer and even second life to all the materials you incorporate into each project – even if these materials only play a part in a different stage of the process, like your organic food waste. The same can be said for the mulching or construction materials used to create your design. Use recycled plastic borders to shape your space, or give your design flair with recycled glass mulch.
You can also apply this thought process to the hardscape elements, which are footpaths, stone walls and other hard elements used in landscape design. This can be anything from reclaimed wood for fences, broken concrete or even recycled brick for a patio. Each use of a recycled product eliminates waste and the energy associated with production and transport through the normal supply chain.
Green landscaping isn't hard to incorporate into your next project. It is good for the environment and beneficial for your pocketbook too. In fact, many cities also offer tax deductions and rebates to residents that put sustainable gardening practices to use in their household. They may even have a list of materials – like the above-mentioned hardscape ideas – that will automatically qualify you for these savings.
Going green and reducing your carbon footprint in your gardening habits has long-term benefits financially and for the environment. You may even find that this biodiversity improves your own quality of life with access to fresh air for your lungs, organic produce for your table and a place to relax your mind.
Megan Ray Nichols is the editor of Schooled By Science. She believes that starting a conversation with someone is the best way to learn something. Megan enjoys reading and writing about scientific discoveries and research. She is is particularly interested in the environment and finding innovative ways to reduce the human impact on climate change. When she isn't writing, Megan enjoys hiking, ...