Principles of Sustainable Landscaping

Treat Water As A Resource

Rainwater is usually treated as “waste” and allowed to flow into gutters and sewers. A sustainable landscaping approach sees water as a valuable resource. With proper design and plant selection the need for irrigation can be reduced or eliminated. Methods of rainwater harvesting can include the use of bio-swales, rain gardens, proper grading, above ground rain barrels, capturing storm water on site and using it for irrigation, use of permeable pavers in the landscape, capturing rain water in below ground tanks and cisterns.

Value Your Soil

Soil compaction leads to problems such as restricted plant growth, weed infestations, erosion, runoff and flooding. Runoff caused by compacted soils is one of the main sources of water pollution. Flowerbed soils should be amended to decrease compaction, increase fertility and soil eco-system then planted with appropriate choices of plants for the location and then mulched. Proper grading, use of retaining and/or garden walls, use of drainage pipes and bio-swales can prevent erosion, run-off and flooding and thus decrease compaction.

Preserve Existing Materials On-Site

Moving materials on and off properties affects our carbon footprint in a big way. Removal of soil can affect the existing ecosystem thus its balance and harmony. There are sustainable ways to lower our environmental impact and yet provide safe, sound proper hard and soft landscaping. Appropriate plant choices for the location are vital utilizing native plants. Drought-tolerant garden designs decrease the need for watering. The right plant in the right place is important.

Conserve Material Resources

Traditional landscape construction produces high amounts of garden and construction waste. Many of the hardscape materials used are energy intensive and transported hundreds of kilometres. A sustainable approach reduces garden and construction waste by utilizing low impact development methods and recycling construction waste. Furthermore, building materials are carefully selected using locally sourced materials as much as possible.