What is Sustainable Landscaping?
“Sustainable” – is that just a buzzword? Here is what “sustainable landscaping” means to us. First, your garden should be a beautiful place where you can relax, play, or entertain. It should look great when installed, and even better ten years later. We like to imagine our gardens 50 years from now. Since gardens are one big way in which humans experience and interact with nature, we work within the principles of ecology to create our landscapes.
It goes without saying that we do not poison our gardens with pesticides or burn them with chemical fertilizers that run off into rivers and streams. We work with our customers to choose plants suited for the Portland environment. Our strategy is to attract pollinators and beneficial insects and birds to do the work of controlling pests. We use compost and natural fertilizers to improve soil and avoid erosion. While we will use heavy equipment when appropriate, we mostly use human powered tools and our brains to create sustainable landscaping.
Gardening is one way to literally change the world for the better. By creating a place of beauty where plants, insects, birds, wildlife, and humans can coexist, where we enjoy nature right outside our door –and even feed ourselves from our own yard– we take a very real step toward re-establishing sustainable environments.
Design Principles of a Sustainable Landscape and Garden
Design to suit local environmental conditions
Carefully select water-wise plants
Choose plants that will not become environmental weeds
Conserve water by using mulch, efficient irrigation, watering only when necessary and grouping plants with similar water needs together
Provide habitat for local native fauna such as small birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects
Avoid use of pesticide or other chemicals that can harm natural insect populations and other beneficial organisms
Minimize non-renewable energy in construction and maintenance
Use sustainable and locally-sourced materials and products
The industrial food system adds a lot of carbon to the atmosphere, and pollutants into the soil, and water. So growing your own food is a personal way to address some of the thorniest problems we face. It’s also a very inexpensive way to obtain organic produce (with free delivery!), teach children about gardening, and have a lot of fun.
A food garden doesn’t need to be a patch in a far corner of the yard (although that’s fine too). By integrating food plants into your whole garden you can add new colors and textures and take advantage of diversity for plant health.