When researching landscaping techniques and practices, you may come across something called “sustainable landscaping.” This catch-all term is used to describe a landscaping methodology that centers around a healthy environment. The general idea of sustainable landscaping is to create an attractive and functional landscape without harming the environment.
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) further explains by saying “Sustainable landscapes sequester carbon, clean the air and water, increase energy efficiency, restore habitats, and create value through significant economic, social and, environmental benefits.”
As you can see, this methodology goes beyond just helping the environment; it also offers economic and social benefits. A sustainable landscape, for instance, may reduce energy costs for homes and buildings. Furthermore, it promotes a pleasing outdoor environment.
There are dozens of techniques used in sustainable landscaping, one of which is permeable paving. As the name suggests, permeable paving contains a porous surface through which water flows. It’s often used in landscaping to improve drainage, reduce stormwater runoff, and to replenish groundwater.
Composting is another technique commonly used in sustainable landscaping. This involves the use of a compost bin or pile in which kitchen waste is added to produce natural fertilizer. Things like egg shells, vegetable scraps, fruit peelings and coffee grounds are added to the compost, after which organic bacteria begins to break it down into nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Mulch is an invaluable tool in landscaping. Some people assume that it’s only useful for preventing the intrusion of grass and weeds in flowerbeds. While mulch can certainly be used for these purposes, it’s also used to reduce water loss caused by evaporation.
Without mulch, moisture in flower beds is quickly evaporated. With mulch, however, moisture becomes trapped; thus, slowing down the rate at which it is evaporated. This makes mulching an effective technique used in sustainable landscaping.
Plants as Windbreaks
The use of plants as windbreaks can provide substantial economic benefits for homeowners. When placed in the appropriate areas, such plants can reduce heating costs by up to 30% in the winter. Furthermore, they act as shade in the summer, allowing for a cooler indoor and outdoor environment.
When possible, homeowners and professional landscapers should consider using recycled materials in their landscape designs. Old brick pavers, for instance, can be used to design sidewalks and other walking paths – all without adding to the cost of the project.
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