Selecting Sustainable Plants for Your Yard - dummies

Selecting Sustainable Plants for Your Yard

By Owen E. Dell

Part of Sustainable Landscaping For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Selecting and combining the right plants, trees, and shrubs will contribute to a beautiful, sustainable landscape that you can enjoy for years. Ask these key sustainability-oriented questions when mapping out plants for your yard:

  • Is it adapted to your climate? Make sure your plants will tolerate the temperatures, winds, humidity, and seasonal rhythms that occur where you live.

  • Is it the right size? Plants that grow too big for the space they’re in need constant pruning to keep them in bounds. Give your plants (and yourself!) a break by allowing them room to grow.

  • Is it resistant to pests and diseases? Why create trouble by choosing wimpy plants? Opt for sturdy varieties that never need to see the doctor.

  • Is it long-lived? This question is especially important with trees and shrubs. Replacing “permanent” plants all the time is definitely not sustainable.

  • Is it safe? Avoid poisonous or highly flammable plants, thorny plants, and trees that tip over or break apart in windstorms.

  • What does it do? It’s best if your plants are more than just pretty faces on your landscape. Try to use plants that provide food for you or the neighborhood critters, make habitats for wildlife, improve the microclimate around your house, or create privacy.