Our world’s supply of clean water is dwindling, and inefficient landscape maintenance is one of the leading culprits.  Sustainable landscaping can be an important (and beautiful) step in reducing costs and your impact on the water supply.

When planning on sustainable landscaping options, consider the following:

Use native plants whenever possible: Native plants need less water and fertilizer than imported plants. They’ve evolved to be most suited to the local climate and soil composition. For that reason, they’re better able to fend off weeds, pests, and diseases, while making the most efficient use of rainwater. If grass is an absolute must for your landscaping needs, try to pick native grasses over the standard Kentucky bluegrass – native grasses are more tolerant to local climate and weather conditions and don’t take nearly as much water to stay healthy.

Optimizing plant placement can reduce utility bills: Landscaping involves more than just aesthetic qualities. By choosing the right plants and placement, your landscape can synergize well with the building to reduce environmental effects on the temperature inside. Planting broadleaf trees along the east and west walls of buildings can maximize shading of the walls during peak sunlight hours and reduce heat transfer to the building during summer. Evergreens along the north walls can act as windbreaks against strong continental winter winds and lower heating costs. Around entrances, an abundance of plants humidifies the air and reduces heat transfer, reducing cooling requirements as well.

Make sure soil is properly amended: No matter how much effort is put into sustainability efforts, unless the soil itself is healthy, much of it goes to waste. Avoid chemical fertilizers and focus more on the proper use of mulch and compost, which not only improve the nutrient content of the soil, but also its water retention. If your landscaping company doesn’t provide composting and mulching services, use liquid fertilizer instead of dry fertilizer, as it is both more efficient and less likely to be washed away as run-off in heavy rain.

Not only will sustainable landscaping save in water and energy costs, it also gives a unique look to your property and is also much easier to care for.

For more information on improving the efficiency and sustainability of your landscapes, contact ATC’s Registered Landscape Architect, Tom Benjamin, at (800) 789-3530.