8 Elements of Sustainable Landscape Design
When it comes to landscape design, not everyone understands how to incorporate sustainability. Sustainability is simply another word for environmentally friendly. Implementing it into your landscape design can mean that maintenance is reduced and the impact on the environment is lessened. This is good news for your pocket and energy levels as well as for the planet.
So what exactly can we do to make our landscape design more sustainable? There are many elements to be considered.
- Make the area water wise. Part of this is planting natives or other plants that like the kind of dry weather that most of our country is blessed – or cursed – with. We don’t have to use a tonne of water every day to keep those lawns and gardens green and healthy. Growing shrubs and plants that prefer or tolerate dry weather means you use less water. This reduces your costs and the time taken to water the garden, not to mention the cost of replacing plants that die when water restrictions come into being.
- Plants such as camellias or nandina domestica that have deep tap roots will also use less water.
- Mulch, mulch and more mulch. Mulch not only feeds your plants, it reduces weed growth and keeps the soil moist and cool. This is good for plants and good for your budget and workload.
- Harvesting rainwater. These days many councils allow residents to have small water tanks to harvest the water from their roofs. This can provide free water to use in the garden, on the lawn or for hosing down paths and driveways. You can also use it for refilling pond or washing the car or cladding of your home.
- Lawn is one aspect of landscape design that takes a lot of water to look good. Choose the kind of grass that needs less water, or convert some of your lawn into an outdoor area with pavers, gravel or even a deck. Your lifestyle will be enhanced and you will use less water, time and effort in watering the lawn.
- Garden placement and drainage. If you have a sloping block, situating the length of the garden to run across the slope will help to conserve water from rain or from your watering efforts. Otherwise the run-off tends to follow the edge of the garden and a heavy storm can wash away good soil. And the rain runs off quickly instead of soaking in.
- On a very steep block you may need to add garden walls or edgings that go down into the soil so that heavy rain has time to soak in rather than just running off.
- Keep fertilising to a minimum by choosing plants that are hardy. That saves it being washed into the waterways and the ocean where it can damage sensitive coral.