Why sustainable landscape design? The population of North Texas is booming and the temperatures and weather patterns are continuing to get more extreme. Therefore, it is more important than ever to use resources wisely and engage in sustainable practices whenever possible. Sustainable landscape design is a large part of the picture, as the struggle to preserve our natural resources demands our full attention.
Here are the top factors to consider in a sustainable landscape design:
Cities all over the country and globe are feeling the effects of water shortages. Current drought maps have large portions of the south central and central United States in varying stages of drought. As we move into the heat of the summer, this can worsen. Water is our most important resource and one that can easily be taken into account when designing.
Drainage management: Large portions of concrete in cities can lead to drainage nightmares during heavy rainstorms. And you know all of our rainstorms here in Dallas are heavy! We incorporate correct grading for good drainage so your landscape doesn’t wash away when it rains.
Capture Rainwater: Incorporate a rain barrel or rainwater capture system into your landscape. Then, water containers and gardens with captured water during the warmest months of the year.
Smart Irrigation Systems: Updated spray nozzles that emit large droplets of water instead of mist, along with drip irrigation, can help you cut back big time on water waste in the landscape. Drip irrigation targets the water at the root zone of the plant, minimizing over-spray and evaporation caused by traditional sprinklers. Always install a rain sensor on your irrigation system and make sure it is functioning properly.
Permeable Surfaces: Limiting the amount of hardscape in your landscape helps reduce water runoff and water waste. You can install permeable surfaces in locations like patios and driveways. These types of surfaces allow water to penetrate the ground instead of washing away. Types of permeable surfaces that can be used in your landscape include: faux turf (also great for water conservation!), groundcovers, decomposed granite, and permeable pavers.
Right Plant, Right Place: Next to water conservation, plant selection is the most important aspect of a sustainable landscape. The two also go hand in hand. Choosing plant varieties that are appropriate to the area is so important. Not only are native plants more suited to our climate and periods of drought, they also provide shelter and food for our native wildlife and important pollinators. Also, plant placement in the landscape can determine its success, so we make sure to take sun exposure, heat tolerance, and reflection into consideration.
Finally, don’t overlook the placement of shade trees. Shade trees can help mitigate the heat island effect as well as lower energy bills. Choose native trees when you can, and make sure that the mature size of your chosen tree species is appropriate for the space you have available in your landscape.