How to Incorporate Eco-Friendly Practices Into Your Landscaping

If you’re planning a landscape project, you will invest much time and money. In addition to producing a backyard you can truly admire, a well-planned landscape will improve your home’s curb appeal. By doing so, you will increase your property value. To create a sustainable landscape project, you should consider using green design landscaping.

Hire the Right Contractor

Carrying out your plans for green design landscaping calls for an experienced landscaper. Landscaping professionals combine their love of nature with an artistic flair. Instead of painting or sculpting, these professionals use their creative skills to create “artwork” from plants and other elements of nature. When you are ready to carry out your landscaping project, you will want to seek a green landscaping company and to work with a local landscaping contractor.

To become a landscaper, a person must be a high school graduate who has gained experience working with a landscaping team. In many states, a landscaper must obtain a license to work independently. Check with your state to find out their license requirements. In most states, the state will require experience as an apprentice before granting you a license.

A sustainable landscape company would typically remove non-native plants from your yard to replace them with native plants. If the soil in your garden needs extra nutrients, the landscapers will use compost instead of commercial fertilizer. Any structures built on the property will utilize local or repurposed building materials.

Begin With the Right Concept

If your project features green design landscaping, it will follow specific guidelines. One of the most exciting concepts is its use of rainwater. To minimize water use, green design projects use rainwater to provide needed water for the plants. Rain barrels can capture the water for these projects, which can then be diverted into the irrigation system.

Some landscaping contractors prefer to divert the run-off water from your gutters into your landscape. Basins can be hidden under shrubs or other plants, and water collected there can also be repurposed. If the swale (marshland setting) fit into your landscape, that design can capture additional water. v

In addition to using natural water, a green landscape needs a good foundation. By using compost and mulch as the organic foundation of your landscape, you will provide a natural setting. Nutrient-rich soil is an essential element in a green landscape. Plants need the microorganisms found in healthy soil to grow and thrive.

Use the Right Products

People typically use the word “products”, to mean the results of a manufacturing process. However, landscaping products include plants, rocks, and soil. When planning a green design landscaping project, this refers to reusing or repurposing the yard’s materials and surroundings. Plants that are not sustainable or require excessive water will be removed and made into mulch for the elements chosen for a sustainable landscape.

According to Elemental Green, the lifecycle of a sustainable landscape will seek to use plants that can either renew themselves or require a minimum of water and soil. Most plants will require water (and, in some cases, fertilizer) to grow. Homeowners in climates that must conserve water and are intent on having a sustainable garden can now make very different choices.

The new trend called xeriscaping is taking this aim to the next level. Xeriscaping chooses plants that are slow-growing or designated as drought-tolerant and purposely chosen. According to CalRecycle, cacti are frequently chosen, as they can thrive with the most minor water. However, some landscapers in Mediterranean regions have found success with olive trees, lavender, and rosemary.

Install the Necessary Structures

As “materials” has a different connotation regarding landscaping, so does “installation.” Although green design landscaping recommends limiting the number of new elements brought into the project, in some cases – especially in yards without previous vegetation – it is necessary to bring in new plants, trees, and hedges. Each new element is called a landscape installation, since they are placed in the environment.

Other examples would be mulch, turf, or any additional sources of soil. Keeping the landscape project as “green” as possible while introducing new elements often emphasizes the use of native plants. This way, any new plants brought to the area will be amenable to the climate and thrive in the available soil. Native plants can also fend off any native pests.

According to JayScott, gardeners who don’t have access to sufficient compost should buy some organic mulch. The same source recommends adding at least two inches of mulch nearly. Using mulch can provide a more attractive element and add valuable nutrients to help your green landscape thrive. If you aren’t already composting, you should begin this practice as soon as possible, as it reuses waste from items you would normally throw into the garbage.

Call an Experienced Hardscaping Contractor

Hardscaping refers to the non-living elements of your landscape project, including paths, rock walls, patios, and decks. These elements add design elements to your landscape but also provide access. Homeowners need access to enjoy their landscapes and maintain the growth and health of the plants. The contractor in charge of your green design landscaping may have hardscaping services available, but others may refer you to a collaborator who will serve as your hardscaping company.

Current trends in hardscaping include fire pits, gazebos, decks, and circular driveways. Circular driveways allow the homeowner to access the backyard or landscape structures more efficiently. According to Master Class, hardscaping elements have been shown to increase property value and add an attractive feature to the landscape.

Fire pits began to increase in popularity during the pandemic when people wanted to increase the amount of outdoor space between them. These outdoor fireplaces have retained popularity, as they combine the beauty of a “campfire” in your backyard with the availability of a space for conversation and bonding. Pergolas – a squarer version of a gazebo – has become famous for many of the same reasons. The square design of the pergola allows those who use it to see most of the landscape at a glance.

Use Sustainable Hardscaping Options

Even though the elements used in hardscaping are not typically organic, there are ways to incorporate green design landscaping principles. One of the most popular options is the use of permeable surfaces. This method uses hardscaping materials that allow rainwater to seep through them and drain down into the soil for reuse by the plants.

If gravel is used, decomposed gravel uses small pieces of gravel that provide a natural appearance for driveways and paths. Decomposed gravel is permeable, so it is often placed around trees in order to maximize the amount of water they receive. Pea gravel is a material with a similar appearance, and it is also permeable. Pea gravel consists of small stones typically found near bodies of water.

Homeowners looking for a patterned, yet eco-friendly option may choose a ribbon driveway. According to Gardenista, these attractive driveways or paths apply stone or other pea gravel with a lane of grass down the middle. The grass in the middle provides permeability to the landscape. The company providing your backyard hardscaping services may be aware of some of these options.

Meet Your Local Tree Service

Trees add a lot of beauty to your backyard and add to your ability to save energy. According to EMagazine, one healthy tree can provide the home-cooling impact of 10 room-sized air conditioners running 20 hours daily. A professional tree service can tell you whether adding more trees to your yard would benefit your landscaping project. If they recommend the addition of trees, they should also be able to suggest where they should be planted for their maximum effect.

When you begin a landscaping project, ask the head contractor if any of your existing trees can be included in the design. The concept of using a tree that is already in your yard is very consistent with the eco-friendly philosophy. When searching through local tree services, look for a company dedicated to sustainable tree care. Ask the company about their fertilizer and water conservation philosophies to ensure they will keep your trees sustainable.

Sustainable tree care is dedicated to preserving the health of your trees and integrating them into the elements of your landscape. Homeowners devoted to green design landscaping will want to be sure their tree services will prune and care for their trees with sustainable goals in mind. Sustainable tree care uses many of the resources already mentioned, such as mulch or compost.

Remove Trees When Necessary

No matter how well we care for our trees, they can decay or die. Let your tree contractors know if you see dead or dying branches on the tree. Infestations of insects that bore into the tree also imply the need for their removal. Your tree service staff will be able to evaluate the tree to see if it must be removed.

If the stump of a tree needs to be removed, the arborist (tree expert) on your team will be able to evaluate the stump for signs of organic decay. If those are seen, some arborists prefer to allow an organic stump to decay (allowing the stump to die on its own due to decay.) To speed up the process of stump decay, the arborist can bore holes into the stump. After boring the holes, the arborist can pour a high-nitrogen solution such as mulch.

One popular method of stump removal is called mechanical stump grinding. This method preserves the principles of green design landscaping and allows the stump to be transformed into mulch. According to Real Tree Team, the procedure grinds the stump with a rotating disc. Many tree removal contractors prefer to leave their root systems intact, allowing new growth to occur.

Let Your Imagination Inspire a Design

If you want to add a sensational element of nature to your landscape, you can add a koi pond. Koi ponds use a pond within your landscape where koi – (multicolored carp) swim and provide a tranquil and beautiful addition to your yard. According to Aquareale, koi ponds add a significant boost to curb appeal and an increase in property values. The bubbling of the water and the gold and red flashes of the fish will provide a relaxing and calming element for your landscape.

Adding this feature offers a micro-habitat for wildlife such as birds, bees, and butterflies. The presence of the water and its surrounding native plants will provide a natural air purifier. A koi pond will reduce pollutants and remove dust from the air. Many koi pond proponents have found their entrancing beauty to provide an emotional return on their investment, too.

Enjoy a Sustainable Lawn

Your landscaping design will include many elements that will equal an overall effect of loveliness. However, your lawn will still cover quite a bit of your landscape. Therefore, it is essential that you use lawn care practices that can increase the sustainability of your green design landscaping. Ask any lawn maintenance company you are considering whether they use sustainable methods.

If you want to use native plants in your landscape plan, choose grasses native to your area. These grasses will be ideal for growing in your climate and will require less water than grasses than other types of grass. The same principles of fertilizers – including mulch and compost – will apply to caring for your lawn. A sustainable lawn care company can also use an integrated pest management system that will use biological pest deterrent systems.

Promote the survival of local wildlife by asking your lawn care company to leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing it. According to Backyard Fanatics, to promote the sustainability of your lawn, you should water it in the morning to reduce evaporation. Ask your lawn company about the possibility of drip irrigation, which can sustainably provide water for your lawn.

Your green design landscaping plan will be a combination of beautiful outdoor elements and careful planning. When you use the opportunity of your landscaping project to further your efforts to reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll be satisfied with doing something great for yourself that benefits the surrounding area. Many landscaping contractors today have experience using sustainable methods. You can appreciate your new landscaping project and enjoy the knowledge that you have been able to help the planet with eco-friendly practices.

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