Sustainable landscaping involves making optimal use of the natural world, including the landscape and the surrounding climate. By using eco-friendly materials and natural fertilizers, sustainable landscaping can help to reduce the carbon footprint and conserve non-renewable resources. In this section, we will discuss some of the key elements of sustainable landscaping, including the use of natural landscape, eco-friendly materials, natural fertilizers, and eco-irrigation systems.
Making Use of the Natural Landscape
One of the key features of sustainable landscaping is making optimal use of the natural landscape. This involves understanding the hardiness zone in which you are planting, as well as the sun and water requirements of each plant. By planning accordingly, you can save on shade clothes and make use of natural water run-offs to divert water back to your landscaping. This can help to reduce soil erosion and conserve water.
Eco-Friendly Landscaping Materials
The basis of life, soil, is an important part of landscaping, whether you’re planting desert plants or a vegetable garden. Using organic materials, free of chemical fertilizers, is key to ensuring soil health. Compost is the star of any environmentally friendly landscaping plan, using vegetable scraps, grass clippings, yard trimmings, and other compostable organic matter. Outdoor or indoor compost bins are a key feature of eco-friendly landscaping. Bacteria and heat generated from decomposition break down all these “extras” into rich, nutrient soil.
Mulch is another eco-friendly landscaping product that can be used to dress up decorative beds and tree wells. Local arborists or wood mills may have cheap, untreated organic mulch options, wood chips, or wood shavings for pathways or beds. Cedar bark mulch releases a natural insect repellent oil, while pine mulch helps to feed flowering plants. Hemlock bark mulch adds nutrients like vitamin C into your soil. Choosing natural materials like straw and hay is an excellent way to keep the sustainable, low-waste landscape design going while building your soil.
Natural Fertilizers & Soil Amendments
Natural fertilizers like compost feed your plants while adding organic matter to the soil. Certain soil needs a pH balance, whereas some need additives for drainage, so purchasing a soil testing kit may be necessary. Garden centers are typically full of soil amendment options, like bags of peat moss, perlite, lime, kelp meal, bone meal, and blood meal. However, it’s best to test your soil to determine which additive it would benefit from before adding anything to your soil.
Eco Irrigation & Natural Water Systems
Determining how to irrigate with water conservation in mind saves money and prevents water waste. Capturing water in a rain barrel attached to your house is a low-maintenance option with little chance of water pollution. Consider adding a screen or filter to prevent bugs from laying in the stagnant water. If set up correctly, your rainwater runoff could be used on a gravity-fed system, completely eliminating drawing water from a well. Aquaponics is used to grow nutritious vegetables in a full-circle system. In landscaping, water can be cycled out and into an adjoining bed to feed and water plants. Using an eco irrigation system, energy-efficient options attached to your garden hose are available to conserve water.