Thursday December 19, 2013
As we begin 2014, it's time to make plans for what we'll create and how we can improve. What New Year's resolutions are you putting on your list? Go to the gym? Eat healthier? Why not add creating a sustainable landscape to the list?
Sustainability isn't a trend; it's a way of life. Whether by making the switch to reusable shopping bags, remembering to turn off the lights when leaving the room or cleaning without toxic chemicals whenever possible, we're all starting to realize that doing a little bit can go a long way. However, many don't realize that creating a sustainable landscape is a wonderful way to preserve the Earth for future generations.
A sustainable landscape design can be beautiful while still keeping the balance between the environment and climate. It can incorporate all of the elements that homeowners love - beautiful annuals, hearty perennials, colorful bushes, a variety of trees and even an assortment of Hardscaping™options.
Why should you care about sustainable landscaping? Our ecosystem is fragile and it takes help from each and every one of us to keep it moving in the right direction. Using plants that require extra care, or having excessive impervious surfaces on your property contribute to contamination of our waterways through stormwater runoff and the pollutants it carries.
So how can you incorporate a sustainable landscape into your New Year's resolutions? It's not as hard as you might think. Here are a few ways to help you get started:
- Choose plants that are native to your region and resilient to pests. They will require less care and maintenance, cutting down on the amount of water and pesticides needed. A local garden center or knowledgeable landscaper can help you make the right choices.
- Use trees and shrubs to beautify your landscape. They're not only pretty, but provide shade and insulation. As an added bonus, trees and shrubbery require very little water once established.
- Compost kitchen and yard waste.You can use composted materials to help your garden grow naturally, plus you'll be adding less trash to the landfill. Composting is fairly simply and requires few extras that you'll have to purchase.
- Install EP Henry's Permeable Pavers. Perfect for driveways, patios and pool decks, adding these ECO Permeable Pavers can help reduce rainwater runoff and the pollutants it carries by allowing rainwater to percolate back to the subsoil.
- Hand-water your plants. Irrigation systems seem to be the easy and cost-effective way to go, but they actually waste water. If you go outside and water your plants only when needed, you'll be saving water (and money!).
- Start rainwater harvesting. You can either purchase a rain barrel at a home improvement store, or create your own (do an internet search and you'll find tons of how-to instructions). You can use the collected water for outdoor chores, such as watering your plants and washing your car. The EP Henry ECO line of permeable pavers can also be used with a cistern system to collect rainwater for re-use.
There are so many ways we can incorporate sustainable living into our daily lives, and adding a sustainable landscape is no different. Having an environmentally friendly landscape is a solid start to living 2014 in a more sustainable way, ensuring a better future for us all.