How to Make a Sustainable Landscape
Sustainability has become a greater focus over the years and is inspiring more creative and unique landscaping ideas. With a world population expected to hit 8.5 billion by 2030, there is a growing strain on our limited natural resources. To better adapt to our changing world, sustainability has become a key concern in many fields, including architecture, manufacturing, city planning, and even residential landscape design in Denver.
Creative ideas and advances in materials make it easier than ever to bring sustainability to your home. Now, you can make your next landscape project beautiful, functional, and sustainable.
Here, we look at a few strategies to help you make a sustainable landscape. Not only can you potentially save on construction costs and water resources, but you’ll also know that your outdoor living space is making a positive impact on the local environment. Environmental threats like climate change and droughts can seem insurmountable; however, by making your landscape more sustainable, you can do your part.
RECYCLING AND COMPOSTING
Recycling is one of the most effective methods for making your landscape sustainable. Recycling can take many forms. The most obvious way is by being conscious of your waste and separating the recyclables. You’ll want to contact your local waste authorities to see if there’s already a recycling program in place (they often provide recycling bins). If there isn’t one, you can use this as an opportunity to initiate a recycling plan in your neighborhood.
You can also use recycled materials throughout your yard and garden and for construction projects. Consider how you can use what you already have (this could be spare bricks, lumber, or pots) to enhance your outdoor living space in unique and creative ways.
Composting is another easy way to make your space more sustainable. Composting is simple: when disposing of waste, keep the organic materials (like banana peels and coffee grounds) separate from the rest. This organic material is rich in nutrients and can be used to supplement the soil in your garden. Composting also reduces the amount of waste that finds its way to overcrowded dumps.
Without a doubt, water is our most valuable resource. In addition to human consumption, water is crucial to sustaining agriculture, plant and animal life, and various industries. However, our water resources have come under threat as growing populations require more and more water. This need for more water depletes groundwater, reservoirs, and rivers faster than they can be replenished.
You can employ many strategies to make your landscape more water conscious and help preserve this valuable resource. Rain barrels can be placed throughout your property to collect and store rainwater that can be used later. You can also try to use reclaimed water for most of your landscape watering needs.
Runoff occurs when natural surfaces are paved over and rain and stormwater can’t reach the ground. Not only can this lead to flooding, but it also decreases the amount of overall groundwater. Runoff also collects any chemicals or fertilizers you might use on your property and flushes them into other water sources.
You can help prevent runoff on your landscape by utilizing permeable surfaces, like gravel or decomposed granite. Planting more trees and shrubs (anything with roots) also works to prevent runoff since they absorb water and stabilize the soil, which also reduces erosion.
Using native plants in your landscape design is another way to promote sustainability. Native plants offer a touch of local beauty in addition to many eco-friendly benefits. First and foremost, native plants are already adapted to your local environment, which means they have greater durability and survival rates. For you, this equates to far fewer trips to the nursery.
Native plants also require fewer pesticides and overall maintenance. Since native plants have evolved with the local insects and environmental conditions, they’re much hardier and less vulnerable to insects or other animals. In certain arid environments, native plants also can require much less water.
Of course, the types of plants and flowers you can use depends on your local environment and factors such as temperature, rain, wind, and snowfall. For example, in Colorado, trees like Ponderosa pine, Douglas Fir, and Blue Spruce do very well. Sagebrush, Rabbitbrush, Chokecherry, and Western Sandcherry are solid choices for shrubs in more arid environments.
HABITAT FOR LOCAL WILDLIFE
No matter where you live, it’s likely your yard will be visited by some type of local wildlife. While most of us won’t catch a black bear in our gardens, it’s common to see squirrels, rabbits, or even deer. Numerous birds and insects are also common guests in most yards and gardens.
Housing and commercial developments push wildlife out; however, you can easily make your outdoor space more welcoming to a host of local wildlife. Native plants can serve as food and habitat for native birds. Additionally, native flowers can help bee populations, which are essential for the pollination of countless plants and types of food.
You can also include design features in your landscaping to accommodate local wildlife. Bird baths and feeders are easy to install features, and if you have any bird watchers in your family, they’ll love to sit back and watch the show. Small water features can also attract wildlife.
You don’t need a hydroelectric dam or wind turbine on your property to benefit from the advantages of renewable resources. Small-scale solar panels can be installed throughout your property to power your lighting needs. Not only does this help the environment, but it can also cut down on your energy bills. There are also options to use renewable, recycled building materials.
CONCLUSION — MAKING A SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE
There’s only one planet Earth—that’s why it’s up to all of us to do our part in protecting the environment. With recent innovations in sustainable landscaping techniques and materials, it’s easier than ever to have a planet-friendly landscape that meets all your aesthetic needs.
We hope these sustainable landscapes in Colorado ideas provide inspiration to make your yard and garden a more environmentally friendly space. By conserving water, using native plants, and making your yard accommodating to local flora and fauna, you can make a positive impact on both your neighborhood and the planet.