What is a sustainable landscape design?
A sustainable landscape is environmentally friendly. But it’s more than that. It should be designed to improve with age. If you are unhappy with your garden in 5 years, and want to rip it out, that is not sustainable!
Water. Your landscaping can account for 25% or more of your property’s water consumption. How do we lower that? Plants that are drought tolerant can survive dry summers with little or no extra water. A well designed irrigation system, utilizing “smart” timer technology, will keep your plants thriving while wasting very little water. Even water features can be included in a responsible way. They just have to be designed and installed properly. Rain gardens can handle run off in a healthy way, adding another layer of sustainability to your landscape design.
Electricity. Low voltage landscape lighting can absolutely be a wise choice. LED bulbs in brass fixtures use minimal amounts of power and last for decades. Water feature pumps vary greatly in efficiency. We only install high-efficiency pumps, ensuring your water feature is not wasting electricity.
Herbicides. Weeds. They are the reason that we reach for the herbicides. Weeds, unwanted grasses, and ivy can quickly take over and leave you feeling overwhelmed. While there is no such thing as a “weed free” landscape, we can design your garden to have as few as possible. Hardscape keeps weeds out of certain areas, but you can’t turn the yard into a parking lot! Wise use of ground covers can help by out competing the weeds for sun and space. A landscape finished with a fine dark bark product will stay free of weeds for several months. We will combine these methods to limit the amount of weeds, so you can pull- not spray.
Lawn. Do you need a lawn? Lawns have become the default space filler in our yards. However, they take lots of water, fertilizer, and herbicides to keep happy. For 8 months of the year they need weekly care. Let’s consider an Eco-lawn, which demands much less attention. Or maybe you don’t need a lawn at all!
Native Plants. Native plants offer much to the sustainable garden. They tend to thrive with less care. Many (not all!) require little water. And they are sourced nearby, not trucked from another part of the country. Plus, The Island has so many fantastic natives to choose from. Trees can be beneficial in special ways. They can lower electrical usage for your home and sequester carbon. Check the value of your existing trees with this calculator.
Invasive Plants. You probably have an existing landscape already. It’s great to be able to use mature plants in the new landscape- but not if they are invasive. Invasive plants may be weeds, which we all agree need to go. But some invasives, like self seeding Butterfly Bush, are attractive. They just don’t belong in the Pacific Northwest.
Animals. Our neighbourhoods are (or should be) full of creatures. And, let’s be honest, they were here first. By considering the basic needs of native wildlife our neighbourhoods can become more friendly to them. Like us, they need food, water, and shelter. It does not take a lot to make sure your garden is providing these basic!