You may have heard the term “sustainable landscaping” tossed around, but you may not know what it means. Isn’t landscaping just landscaping? Many people assume that landscaping consists solely of creatively placed plants and flowers or a couple of water features, but landscaping is an elaborate process that includes various types of gardening practices. Learn more about sustainable landscaping and how it may be the type of landscaping you would like to integrate on your property.
What is Sustainable Landscaping?
First off, start with defining sustainability. The National Gardening Association explains it as “practicing environmental stewardship so that we meet our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” Sustainability, in itself, is a broad term that can be used for a variety of different practices from the way we build our homes to the way we eat and even drive.
So, how does sustainable landscaping fit in the larger picture? It is a landscape practice that benefits the health of our communities and the future of our environment. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
- Planting locally adapted non-invasive or native plants to MN
- Landscape designs that allow for local rainfall and runoff
- Creating a habitat for native animal life
Sustainability Can Still Be Appealing
Many people ask, “Will sustainable landscaping still look pretty?” For decades, some landscaping companies have convinced people that the only yard worth keeping and looking at is a pristine, well-manicured green lawn. Unfortunately, with that way of thinking comes the occasional use of chemicals that can end up being hazardous to the environment and the wildlife around us. Many property owners still love the look of a perfect lawn with clean lines and planned out flower beds, but sustainable landscaping encourages people to ditch the need for perfection (and harmful chemicals) and takes a different approach.
Although some may worry that sustainable landscaping might end up looking disorganized or even a little unkempt and “wild,” it’s the practice itself that is more eco-friendly. Sustainability can still result in a beautiful yard; it’s all about perspective.
Commitment to Environmental Stewardship
Whether reducing one’s reliance on fossil fuels or simply being more mindful about water usage, these days, many homeowners are working hard to become stewards of the environment. Not knowing that sustainable landscaping can help them become better environmental stewards, many homeowners opt out of any landscaping.
For instance, consider water usage. Eco-minded homeowners typically avoid watering their lawns to conserve water. They may set up a rain barrel or collect rainwater, but even that can create more work than necessary. Sustainable landscaping may include a rain garden, similar to many that you may see around the city, which relies on rainwater and the runoff from buildings and surfaces around your home. Sustainable landscaping consists of plants and flowers that can withstand the diverse climates of Minnesota, as well as the near drought conditions that we sometimes encounter.
Creating a Safe Place for Wildlife
Urban areas can create challenges and stress for wildlife. Sustainable landscaping in your backyard can become a safe haven for native animal life. Depending on the types of plants and flowers that you decide to plant, you may see an increase of butterflies and bees, which are important pollinators. Your landscape may also provide shelter and a food source for a variety of different birds or mammals. Rather than going to the local nature preserve or a hike through the woods, you can experience the same sights and sounds in your backyard.
Less Work for You
One of the many benefits of sustainable landscaping is that it typically means less work for you, as the homeowner. While a little weeding may be required, the overall maintenance of sustainable landscaping is low, which also means you save money and have more time to enjoy your yard.
Protection from Noise and Pollutants
Whether you live in a suburb or the heart of the city, noise and pollutants are difficult to escape. Landscaping can not only offer privacy in a crowded neighborhood, but it can reduce everyday noise and filter out pollutants from traffic congestion and industrial plants.
Curb Appeal and Property Value
Lush landscaping with native plants and flowers like prairie cordgrass, common blue violet, wild geranium, and blue flag irises are sure to catch the eye of a passerby. While you may have no intention of moving away from the place you love to call home, beautiful and eco-friendly landscaping can increase the value of your property.
Pride in Homeownership
Your yard represents the first impression of your property. While cookie cutter lawns are slowly becoming a thing of the past, more people are starting to notice a yard that has character and is reflective of environmental responsibility. Would you rather take pride in a yard that will last for the season or one that will last a lifetime?
Sustainable landscaping is a great alternative for homeowners who enjoy all the aesthetics of landscaping but are committed to being stewards of the environment. Whether you prefer the look of simple shrubs and flower beds or like a lush atmosphere with a water feature, sustainable landscaping can provide whatever look you prefer without compromising the future of the environment.