Create a sustainable landscape design

Sustainable landscape design creates beautiful outdoor living space without detracting from the natural surroundings. This style of landscaping has evolved in recent years to promote a more environmentally-friendly method of enjoying our outdoor property. Sustainable landscaping techniques can be integrated into nearly any garden style, including Mediterranean, English garden, and even desert designs. The primary principles of a sustainable design are:

Little to no use of treated materials, insecticides, and chemical-based products.
Minimize reliance on limited natural resources – paving materials, water, fossil fuels, etc.
Reduce waste and reuse resources.
Create natural energy options whenever possible.
Replenish wildlife by providing natural habitats and nesting areas.

Sustainable Outdoor Materials

Materials that complement the style of your home while minimizing the environmental impact of landscaping are an important part of sustainable outdoor design. Hardscape features are constructed with porous materials that encourage drainage; natural evergreen hedges minimize the use of materials. Treated materials and scarce natural resources are avoided – incorporating recycled plastic, reused materials like crushed brick and salvaged wood, and natural elements such as shrubbery and stone instead.

Plants for a Sustainable Garden

Vegetation is crucial to an eco-friendly landscape design. Hardy, fast-growing bamboo is popular for shade and privacy, while natural wildflower gardens invite wildlife and require little maintenance. Organic vegetable gardens are often integrated into the plans and fruit or nut trees often replace traditional ornamentals. These tips will help you choose the best plants for your sustainable landscape design:

Preserve existing plant life whenever possible. Relocate vegetation if necessary.
Select plants that thrive in your area and buy them locally if possible.
Know the water needs of each plant and group those with similar needs together when planting.
Use shade trees and hedges to increase energy efficiency by positioning them to block mid-day sun or to shield your home from the wind.

Sustainable Landscaping Techniques

There are several gardening techniques noted for their sustainability and environmental benefits. These styles integrate vegetation and beauty into your outdoor space, while also promoting a natural environment for growth and wildlife with minimal impact on the planet. A few popular techniques include:

Green roofs are common features in sustainable landscape designs. Rather than redirect rain water away from building tops, this garden style retains water and uses it to grow vegetables, potted plants, and colorful flowers. Green roofs make use of a typically ignored surface while reducing pollution.
Bioswales are storm water drainage systems that double as natural garden areas. Ornamental grasses and native wildflowers provide refuge to wildlife and add maintenance-free vegetation to your outdoor space.
Rain gardens are another sustainable option for drainage. A depression is created to collect, store, and filter rainwater runoff. A grassy area typically serves as the first filter, followed by a layer of mulch that allows nutrients to reach plants and trees. The depression stores a small amount of water and nourishes ground covers, shrubs, and trees within the planting area.
Xeriscaping is a specific landscape style, utilizing native plants and natural planting areas to minimize dependency on natural resources. Xeriscapes require about 60% less water than traditional landscape designs.

Sustainable landscape design can be used within any garden style by opting for eco-friendly materials and accessories and integrating sustainable features that reduce the need for nonrenewable resources. A professional design firm can help you choose native plants that blend with the style of your home and can create a plan that will lower the environmental impact of your outdoor space. Low-maintenance, versatile, and planet friendly, sustainable landscape design brings nature to your door.

All about vertical gardening

Have you ever wished you had a spacious backyard to grow your own corn and strawberries, but gave up your dreams because you work in the city and live in an apartment?
What if I told you that you can harvest as much fresh fruit and vegetables as you’d like from your very own garden with only the space on your balcony or windowsills.
You might think it is a crazy idea right?
With today’s vertical gardening techniques, you can grow your own produce as long as you have somewhere sunny, be it a balcony, porch, or alleyway along a fence. With vertical gardening, you train your veggies to grow up, not out.
So what exactly is vertical gardening and why can it give you season after season of satisfaction and impressive crops of fruits and vegetables?
Vertical gardening relies on the fact that plants will grow where ever there is light, nutrients, and support. This means that even if your cucumber vine is growing from a pot straight up a wall, it will still produce!
Long ago, it was commonly thought that only with expansive amounts of land can one grow produce. The problem was that before the advent of pots, irrigation, and soil conditioners, each plant relied strictly on what was in the soil beneath it to survive.

This meant that a given plant would consume a large amount of soil in order to produce a given amount of fruit.
Today, we can engineer optimum conditions for a given plant in a milk jug, and watch it produce many pounds of vegetables. This is possible through the application of science and careful planning of your garden well before planting the first seed.
Do not be discouraged, although the process may seem labor intensive and difficult, it truly isn’t. After only a few weeks you will understand most of the theory and after a single season you will become a seasoned professional at growing your own produce indoors or in small spaces. Imagine covering an entire wall with bean vines, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
Imagine the satisfaction you will get when you bite into your very own produce, which will taste many fold better than that which is available at the store. This and much more is possible with vertical gardening!
So, if you have decided that vertical gardening may be something you would like more information about, scour the Internet for more info. You will be surprised at the resources available, and I am sure if you set your mind to it you could be harvesting your own fruit and veggies this year. Vertical gardening may be bringing fresh produce to a balcony near you soon.