By Katie Houdek
Sustainable landscaping practices are becoming the norm for more and more Texans. As the effects of non-sustainable yards and gardens become more apparent, homeowners are reconsidering their outdoor options.
Negative Consequences of Non-sustainable Landscaping Practices
The negative effects of these practices directly impact homeowners and their local communities. Some of these effects manifest in invasive species takeovers or chemical pollutants in our drinking water. There has been documented harm to local plants and animals due to native habitat destruction. Some members of local communities also exhibit health problems caused by toxins in the fertilizers and pesticides. With these growing problems, a call to return to native and sustainable landscaping is being readily adopted.
What Exactly is Sustainable Landscaping?
A sustainable landscape is one that is designed to be attractive, in accordance with the local climate and environment, and it requires minimal external resources. Water resources are managed to prevent waste and to increase the overall efficiency of the water’s usage. The use of compost materials, grasscycling, and strategic planting helps reduce the use of chemicals, controls pests, prevents erosion, and helps to prevent air, water, and soil pollution.
What Are Some of the Techniques That Foster Sustainable Landscaping?
Integration of renewable energy, such as solar powered lighting
The use of recycled materials (tires, glass, paper, etc…) in paving stones, mulch, and other materials.
Using water-wise garden techniques to reduce the water usage in garden maintenance.
Energy –efficient design used when selecting and placing shade trees and shrubbery.
The use of permeable paving materials that help reduce storm-water runoff and allow the rainwater to infiltrate into the ground and replenish groundwater.
Create rain gardens and green roofs to reduce storm-water runoff.
Use reclaimed wood, composite wood, and/or sustainably harvested wood for decking and other wood accents in outdoor spaces.
Should You Jump In?
Contact a local sustainable landscaper to assess what you can do in your yard. You might want to overhaul the entire existing lawn and garden. It may be that starting with a few ideas is the best option for you. An expert will be able to conduct a sustainability audit to help you understand how you should proceed.