Sustainable Landscaping: Thinking Beyond Your Walkways and Patios

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As people continue to realize the benefits of being environmentally friendly, sustainable design is a growing trend.

There are many ways for homeowners to help the environment - and their wallets - by investing in sustainable landscaping. Lawns, more than any other landscaping element, take away from a person's sustainability efforts. While beautiful, they typically require a great amount of water and time to survive.

EP Henry's numerous Hardscaping™options can complement an outdoor design, minimizing your lawn space, but not the beauty. Beyond Hardscaping™, there are other garden tips that can help create a more sustainable design. Follow this simple guide to reap the many benefits of sustainable outdoor living.

  • Be mindful of the plants you choose.Sustainability works best with plants that are low-demand, resilient to pests and diseases and tolerant of your climate through allseasons. Research how large the plant will grow to ensure there is enough room in your yard for it to flourish.  Group plants by similar water and soil needs. For specific information on which plants are best for your yard, visit your local garden center or talk to a knowledgeable landscaper.
  • Plant trees and shrubs for protection against harsh weather conditions.Trees and shrubs provide shade in the summer and insulation through the winter while blocking your home from heavy winds and snowdrifts during storms. Trees are low maintenance and require little water once they have been established. In addition to the added protection, these beautiful yard additions can help lower your air conditioning and heating bills by as much as 40 percent!
  • Tend to your soil.Compost kitchen and yard waste to enhance and diversify your soil, which makes for healthier plants. Use mulch to lock in moisture and moderate the temperature of the soil - mulch helps slow the freezing process, making for stronger plants in the spring.
  • Harvest rainwater.Take notice of where water flows and gathers when it rains and use a rain barrel to collect it for future tasks, like watering your plants or washing your car. Permeable Pavers can also help reduce stormwater runoff by filtering pollutants and redirecting water back to the ground.
  • Conserve water.Avoid irrigation systems when possible. To minimize the chances of over watering, hand water your plants only when needed.
  • Use solar-powered landscape lights.This form of renewable energy uses the sun to light your outdoor living area at night, while cutting your electricity bill. There are also no wires involved with these lights, which can be a hazard to people and animals outside.

Following these steps leads will undoubtedly lead to a more sustainable home environment. Less water will be wasted and habitats will be preserved. An added bonus, many of these sustainable projects can be done while involving the whole family, creating an educational activity to do together.  Think it sounds like a lot? Keep in mind, not everything has to be done at once; each project improves the beauty, cost-effectiveness and eco-friendliness of your yard.