How to Evolve to Sustainable Landscaping

Photo of home garden cultivated with sustainable techniques.

Key takeaways:

  • Sustainable landscaping takes some effort
  • Much of the process involves using fewer resources
  • You’ll also want to utilize materials that are already on site
  • Sourcing a landscaping company with sustainable techniques can make the process easier

Sustainable landscaping involves working with nature to conserve energy and water while improving water and air quality. Unlike traditional landscaping, which focuses on ornamental value, sustainable landscaping puts the emphasis on maximizing value to the environment. 

With younger tenants and buyers showing more concern for the environment, creating common areas makes your community more attractive to these customers. Sustainable yards can also save you time and money. Sustainable landscaping involves certain principles, including:

  • Treating water as a resource. Natural water sources like dew and rain are valuable for green living. This approach lets you minimize controlled water source consumption. 
  • Valuing your soil. Existing soil can help you revamp your landscapes. Ensure that the soil remains loose to achieve the best results. 
  • Preserving existing materials. Do you want to minimize soil destruction? Avoid moving materials on and off your property. 
  • Conserving material resources. Traditional landscaping techniques can produce excessive yard and construction waste. With sustainable landscaping, you can minimize waste. And using locally-sourced materials will also help minimize the impact your project has on the environment.

Ready to start a sustainable landscaping project? Here’s what you need to know.

Plant native plants 

Sustainability often involves both plants and animals. Consider the existing wildlife around you when planning a landscaping project. Native plants can often benefit the insects and animals that live in your community. 

Find plants and herbs that support local fauna while adding a decorative touch to your community. Investing in a small herb garden, for instance, will attract butterflies and bees and keep your ecosystem moving.

Once established, most native plants require minimal care. You’ll use less water, time, and fertilizer to care for your yard. Start small by either creating a new bed or expanding an existing one. Find environmentally friendly plants to replace invasive species in your yards. And plant perennials or shrubs in places where grass doesn’t thrive. 

Planting fully grown trees offers multiple environmental benefits, including:

  • Providing shelter for birds and mammals
  • Creating microclimates, increasing moisture in the air, and providing shade
  • Hosting insects that contribute to the ecosystem
  • Serving as windbreaks for your property

Consistent irrigation 

Watering plants and crops regularly ensures steady growth. To conserve resources, collect and store rainwater and use it to irrigate your plants during dry seasons. And consider planting succulents that require little water if it rarely rains where you live. 

Use permeable surfaces 

Design pavements and walkways to allow water to penetrate the soil. Such permeable surfaces allow water to filter out pollutants. Your soil becomes friendly and healthy, fostering a more sustainable landscape. Small-stone gravel and decomposed granite are ideal permeable alternatives to large concrete blocks.

Create rain gardens or bioswales

These eco-friendly structures feature flowers or plants watered using captured and filtered stormwater. Usually, bioswales clean and process the water before redirecting it to the plants. Bioswales will help you turn stormwater into storm drains, ensuring you make the most of the water. Rain gardens, on the other hand, feature plants that absorb rainwater. Either solution can help reduce water usage in your community. 

Use locally-sourced materials for your landscape

When planning your new landscaping project, try scavenging for wood, stone, gravel, and other garden materials in your backyard. And use locally-sourced materials when planting flowers or herbs, as well as for fencing and other features. Remember, the closer to home you source your materials, the less impact they’ll have on the environment.

Consider artificial turf

Although natural turfs create beautiful environments, they require a lot of water. Artificial turfs are growing in popularity as environmentally-friendly alternatives because they don’t require water, fertilizer, weeding, or mowing. Work with experienced landscapers to determine if your landscape will do well with artificial turf.

Reduce grass area 

Many homeowners love big lawns, but grass sucks up a lot of resources without offering environmental advantages for local wildlife. After all, it takes a lot of time, energy, chemicals, and water to maintain grass lawns.

That’s not to say that you have to do away with lawns completely. Instead, consider the lawn’s purpose in your yard, then plan for the right lawn size depending on your time and budget. And try to water the grass only once a week if you experience sparse rainfall. 

Grass clippings can help return nutrients to the soil, increasing your yard’s sustainability. Remember to cut grass to under 3 inches to minimize pests and protect roots. 

Cultivate living mulch

Create a pleasing and lush landscape by densely planting your garden with ground cover and perennials. Leave the resulting plant litter intact as free mulch and fertilizer. When tidying up the beds, only remove last year’s leaves.

Recycle hardscape materials

Do you need help finding locally-sourced material? Recycle hardscape materials that remain after your construction project. Recycling bricks, wood planks, and stones can help you cut down on your budget and ecological footprint. Display your creative touch with beautiful rustic finishes. A professional landscaper could also help you make the most of salvaged materials during the landscape planning phase.

Solar lighting

If you fancy adding lights to your landscape, solar power is the sustainable way to go. Low-energy use fixtures and solar bulbs are ideal sustainable lighting options. Ensure that the landscape’s brightness doesn’t harm wildlife at night. 

Work with experienced landscaping vendors

Ultimately, sustainable landscaping secures the environment while allowing nature to do the heavy lifting in your yard. The options mentioned above can help you create beautiful, eco-friendly lawns. Of course, you could try doing the work yourself, but it’s often a better idea to let professionals handle it.

Do you need help finding the best vendors to support your quest to create sustainable landscapes? VendorSmart can help you identify experienced and certified vendors who can create your ideal landscape. Finding a landscaping company that has mastered sustainable techniques will streamline the process and help you achieve the lawn you’ve always wanted.