What Sustainable Practices Enhance Landscape Design Projects?


    What Sustainable Practices Enhance Landscape Design Projects?

    In the quest for greener spaces, we've gathered insights from top industry professionals on sustainable landscaping practices. From a Landscape Architect's perspective of embracing wild plant growth to a Co-Founder's strategy to promote organic mulches and rainwater harvesting, discover the four key practices that are shaping eco-friendly landscape design today.

    • Embrace Wild Plant Growth
    • Switch to Subsurface Irrigation
    • Implement Sustainable Water Practices
    • Promote Organic Mulches and Rainwater Harvesting

    Embrace Wild Plant Growth

    Embracing the wild nature of plants and leaving room for nature to express itself. Utilizing native plants and allowing them to grow fully in their natural form, reducing or eliminating pruning and trimming to maintain shape, and only intervening to aid the health of the plant are keys to allowing a garden to develop and grow naturally. By leaving behind dead and decaying matter, we support soil organisms and enhance the soil's health. Allowing plants to reseed and migrate creates a more natural and resilient arrangement. Furthermore, ceasing to mow certain areas promotes successional plantings, which provide vital habitats for birds and insects while also reducing pollution from lawn equipment. These practices collectively foster a more sustainable and ecologically balanced landscape.

    Case Neal
    Case NealLandscape Architect, Destination by Design

    Switch to Subsurface Irrigation

    We are encouraging our clients to make the switch to subsurface irrigation for their landscapes. It is more costly upfront but uses (in our use cases) a tenth of the water that traditional spray heads use. Subsurface drip eliminates evaporation loss, loss due to wind, and applies the water directly to the roots of plants and sod. We did an install for a client who also installed a smart water meter, and he informed me that in the month of August, he spent a mere $42 watering his lawn, and he had the greenest lawn in the neighborhood. I know for a fact his neighbor, who opted for a traditional system, spent over $500 in the same month for his entire water bill.

    Cory Singer
    Cory SingerGeneral Manager, Singer Services

    Implement Sustainable Water Practices

    I love to focus on sustainable water practices. I am deeply passionate about plants, biodiversity, sustainability, water conservation, and stewardship.

    Here in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, we have a semi-arid climate that prevails over much of the plains. Water is at a premium, receiving an average of 18 inches of rain a year and challenging weather ranging from drought to golf ball-sized hail. One way to work with our ever-evolving weather is by using native plants and well-adapted plants that can thrive together, harmonizing in beauty and supporting wildlife, creating a more sustainable and biodiverse environment. These plants require less water and maintenance, reducing clients' water bills and increasing their savings! Clients appreciate and love spending less time on maintenance, more time to relax and enjoy seeing birds and butterflies in their gardens, and having lower water bills.

    It's crucial to analyze and assess the site, soil, sightlines, and any microclimates. It is paramount to lay this foundation to create a Master Landscape Design Plan that will thrive.

    The last piece is choosing the plant palette, the exciting and fun part for me - the icing on the cake. I am passionate about plants and geek out using native and well-adapted plants. If you are unfamiliar with what plants these might be for you, try to find a local nursery that focuses on natives over a big box store. They will employ people who can help you with your goals and needs and carry plants best suited to your climate zone. Big box stores can be very misleading with the plants they carry.

    Other aspects of sustainable water practices include dry creek beds, using rock or gravel to direct water and manage storm runoff, rainwater harvesting, and efficient irrigation. Maybe all or a combination is needed to assist or remedy any drainage issues you may have, or to assist you in conserving water.

    Without a doubt, our climate is evolving and changing in unexpected ways. These practices will help you and can be implemented in any landscape design and adjusted according to your specific climate needs.

    Vicke BatznerProfessional Landscape Designer, Vicke Batzner Sustainable Landscape Design

    Promote Organic Mulches and Rainwater Harvesting

    Organic mulches like wood chips or straw can break down over time and add nutrients back into the soil, improving its structure. This not only boosts plant health but also cuts down on the need for chemical fertilizers.

    Rainwater harvesting is another fantastic way to boost sustainability in your landscaping. By collecting rainwater and using it for irrigation, you can reduce your reliance on municipal water supplies.

    Composting is such an awesome way to recycle your organic waste and boost your soil’s fertility at the same time. When you compost kitchen scraps, yard clippings, and other organic materials, you end up with nutrient-rich soil amendments that help your plants thrive.

    Taylor Olberding
    Taylor OlberdingCo-Founder, Heroes Lawn Care