There are many ways to include sustainable, efficient and eco-friendly features throughout your landscape design without compromising beauty or function! Whether you manage a large public space, or a small-sized garden, these quick tips will give you inspiration for your sustainable landscape.

Xeriscaping:  the act of conserving water through creative landscaping. Considering natural sunlight, drainage patterns, and regional climate will help you determine which plant choices to make to ensure you can conserve your water usage while maintaining good plant health. Minimizing lawn, increasing soil health and watering wisely are also important factors involved with Xeriscaping. This practice can also minimize necessary maintenance over time, improve property values and provide natural habitats for wildlife.

Smart Irrigation: having a resource management system like Calsense for large scale and commercial sites, or a smaller scale irrigation system for private and residential sites can provide tremendous cost, labor and water savings for years to come. Consider including a rainwater capture system within your irrigation management.

Improve Soil Quality: Increasing organic materials and frequently aerating your soils will create efficient drainage while maintaining the soil’s ability to store water. This means that your plants will have their water when they need it, without becoming drowned or bogged with extra water.

Reduce Turf Where Possible: Determine if all the turf zones within your landscape design are truly necessary. Maintain open spaces for recreation and functionality, and some for visual appeal- but consider the water and labor savings you could create for yourself if you transformed even a tiny portion of your turf into a different use. Consider creating outdoor seating, or a mini drought tolerant garden.

Make Smart Plant Choices: Consider your region’s climate and native plants. Matching your plant’s needs with your natural climate allows for easier control over factors such as evapotranspiration. When choosing plants, consider what their full-grown size will be, to limit future pruning and maintenance. Drought tolerant landscaping is beneficial even to those in non-arid climates as you will still reap the benefits of water conservation. Consider the placement of trees, as they can benefit plants by protecting them from wind and preventing evaporation by shading their soil.

Use Hydrozones: It is rare to see just one plant type throughout a landscape design – so how can you irrigate efficiently if you have different plants and their varied water needs scattered among each other? If grouped by their specific water needs, your landscape can be irrigated in zones, which also makes troubleshooting so much easier to combat when/if plant issues do arise.

Avoid Over-fertilizing: Yes, we all want our plants to grow at their very best pace and size. But over-fertilizing your plants will not achieve much more than creating excess waste which pollutes our habitats and waterways, in addition to leeching when evaporation leaves behinds excess salts and minerals from fertilizer.

Create Permeable Surfaces: Permeable surfaces decreases opportunity for rainwater runoff, capturing nature’s most precious resource for deeper soaking into landscape soils, or within a rainwater or grey water storage system for use outside of the landscape. Decomposed granite is an excellent natural material that is permeable, offers benefits of mulching, and can stabilize paths or other hard surfaces.

Plant a Pollinator Garden: It’s no surprise that the bees have experienced rapid habitat destruction. Easily give them a helping hand by planting wildflowers and other annual, perennials and herbs in a small spot which will greatly aid any pollinators passing through.

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