Sustainable Landscaping : Ways to Help Tackle Climate Change

Gardener holding a pair of garden scissors

Last September 20, 2019, students and activists from 150 countries took part in the Global Climate Strike. The concerns around climate change cannot be understated. Now more than ever, it is crucial for nations and individuals to move fast and look for ways to tackle climate change asap.

As homeowners, there are several ways to help. The more popular methods of reducing a house’s carbon footprint include replacing HVAC filters regularly, switching to LED lights, and unplugging devices when not in use.

Creating a well-designed, water-efficient landscape design here in Park City is not as popular. Many do not know the importance of having a sustainable landscape that not only improves the aesthetics of a property but also helps in conserving water and energy.

The goal of sustainable landscaping is to conserve water, reduce chemical usage and ultimately, decrease global climate concerns. Here are some ways to create a sustainable landscape and make a difference:

Maintain Healthy Soil

Soil is critical to the success of sustainable gardens. Improving the soil and maintaining healthy soil is vital to preserving a landscape. Healthy soil not only promotes plant growth, but it also increases the plants’ water and nutrient holding capabilities.

Also, it also removes pollutants and cleanses water. Conversely, compacted soil leads to problems such as inhibited plant growth, restriction of rainwater infiltration, erosion and surface runoff. These unhealthy soils also require frequent mending to ensure they can support healthy vegetation.

Use of Efficient Irrigation Systems

Wasteful irrigation accounts for over 40% of the residential water use in the United States. That means much of the water applied to gardens and patios are wasted. One way to improve efficiency in irrigation systems is by employing a technique called rainwater harvesting.

Rainwater is a free resource. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not see the usefulness of this resource and instead, allows rainwater to flow into gutters and sewers. Sustainable landscaping treats rainwater as a valuable resource.

Using captured rainwater in efficient rainwater harvesting systems decreases the rate of surface runoff while ensuring a garden is well-watered.

Assess Existing Plant Material and Preserve Native Plants

Native plants are broadly defined as plant species that are naturally found and indigenous to an area. Many suburban neighborhoods want to start with a clean slate and often replace native plants with decorative plants that are heavily dependent on water and fertilizer.

A sustainable landscape, however, preserves and incorporates native plants into the design. These plants are often already suited to the local growing conditions, so they require little maintenance. They also do not need toxic chemicals, which often find their way into the natural environment, because they usually take their nutrients from the soil.

In fact, fertilizers can be very harmful to some native plants.

Zoning Plants Based on Their Watering Needs

Gardener taking care of roses

Landscape plantings based on watering properties are one of the critical ways to sustainable landscaping. This concept is called xeriscaping, a term coined in the 1980s. Research has shown that applying this concept to a landscape can reduce water consumption by 35% to 75%.

A water-efficient landscape begins with a plan. Ideally, plants with similar water needs are grouped together to avoid wasting water. For instance, turf grasses need more frequent watering compared to trees and shrubs, so they should be zones separately.

An irrigation system set to water all plants at the same rate and the same time is inefficient, results to surface runoff and ends up with a lot of wasted water.

The increasing concerns around climate change are so widespread that a lot of companies and homeowners are looking for ways to help. Sustainable landscaping is one way to reduce water and energy wastage.

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