Identifying Ways to Make Your Landscape Sustainable - dummies

Identifying Ways to Make Your Landscape Sustainable

By Owen E. Dell

Part of Sustainable Landscaping For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Getting to know your yard is the first step toward improving the sustainability of your landscape. You have to gather some information about your property, so grab a lawn chair, get comfortable, and consider these questions:

  • How big is your lawn? The lawn has the most negative impacts of any landscape feature. So, if you can, make it smaller, or replace it with a low-care meadow that requires little water. Or at least tune up your sprinkler system and consider using a push mower.

  • What materials are available on your site? Do you have stones, salvageable concrete, used lumber, trees, or bamboo that could be made into a structure? Even the soil beneath your feet can be used to make beautiful earthen landscape elements.

  • Where does the water go? Follow the path of rainwater as it moves across your land. See if you could harvest rainwater from the roof of your house or elsewhere using dry streambeds and other site features to let it soak in to the soil. Or perhaps you can even store rainwater in a cistern.

  • How could you cut down on maintenance? If you’re spending a lot of time and resources on laborious but unnecessary garden tasks, learn how to redesign your landscape to eliminate troublesome gardening work.

  • How’s the climate in and around your house? Trees and shrubs can shade the house, intercept and lift wind over your property, and cut down on heating and air conditioning bills. Shade structures can create cool zones.