Native plants require minimal care, which saves time, money and water. Selecting plants which are native to your region is a simple way to conserve resources. Also known as xeriscaping, this practice helps minimize threats from invasive species, aids in soil retention, reduces the need for potentially harmful fertilizers and pesticides, enhances erosion control and fosters water filtration. Furthermore, resource-efficient native plants offer a habitat for bugs, birds and other native and migrating species.
But it’s not just about what plants you put in, it’s also about what you take out: avoid removing plants unless it is imperative. If you do remove plants, relocate them to another location in your yard whenever possible.
And keep in mind: the healthier your soil is, the healthier your plants will be. A professional garden landscaping firm can help you understand your soil, as well as take adequate steps to ensure that it remains rich in organic material. By giving your soil the attention it deserves, you help lengthen the lifeline of your plants while reducing overall maintenance.
Water Water Everywhere
As one of our planet’s most valuable resources, water impacts everything from the comprehensive ecosystem to individual health, and best landscaping practices ensure optimal water conservation. Rainwater catchment systems offer simple sustainability. Installing a rain barrel, for example, is a simple way to conserve water by retaining it for dry spells. As part of a well-planned irrigation system, rain barrels can be used to water the surrounding landscape. A garden landscape and construction company can help you integrate this green feature as an aesthetically appealing and cohesive design feature.
Drip irrigation, meanwhile, is an environmentally-friendly alternative to the common yet wasteful method of spray irrigation. Also referred to as trickle irrigation, this method slowly releases water into the soil and roots for steady nourishment.
Don’t underestimate the power of mulch. In addition to keeping weeds away, mulch offers essential insulation and water retention while fighting erosion and giving the garden a tidy appearance. But not all mulch is created equally. While shredded cyprus is popular, it has a negative impact on the environment due to its slow growth and critical role within the ecosystem as a wildlife habitat. Options like eucalyptus, melaleuca, cocoa and pine bark and needles, however, are renewable and come with negligible environmental costs. Consult with your landscaping professionals to learn more about your options, as well as about local resources which may be available: free tree waste mulch, for example, can be obtained at some local recycling centers and landfills.
Environmentally friendly hardscapes, including permeable pavers, grass pavers, and pervious concrete are all effective management techniques which protect against runoff from storm waters. These porous surfaces allow water to gradually filter into the ground which not only helps replenish the aquifer, but is also an effective tool against soil erosion. For added green impact, seek out non-toxic stains, paints and cleaning products when building.
The use of recycled materials is another simple and effective method of green gardening. Before beginning construction on your project, consult with your landscaping and construction team to determine what materials can be repurposed or incorporated into the new design for your landscape. For example, recycled brick can be used to create visually appealing pathways and patios, while versatile broken-up concrete can be found for free at local construction sites. Recycled plastic bender board also has multipurpose applications — from landscape edging to stone retaining walls. Your landscape team can advise you as to best practices when choosing hardscapes, and help you source out the best supplies.
While going green may initially take some extra planning, the long-term payoffs are undeniable. Through the conscious management of resources — including everything from water conservation to native plants to environmentally friendly hardscapes — homeowners can create a beautiful environment, while also preserving and protecting the planet.