10 Things to Consider for a Sustainable Landscape Design

If you’re renovating your landscape and would like to create a more earth-friendly garden, the best thing you can do is talk to your design team about it early on. “Being upfront about your desire for sustainability from the beginning is very important,” says landscape designer Evo Sadosky of Dallas-based Blue Ribbon Lady Landscaping. The design of the garden, choices about materials and the process for installation can all change as a result.

That leads us to our next question: As a savvy homeowner, what should you ask about for a more sustainable garden? We spoke with Houzz landscape professionals, who shared key topics you will want to bring up with your design pro.

SALA Architects
When we talk about bringing sustainability into home gardens, it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Adding just some native plants to the garden can support local animal species. Cutting landscape water use by as little as 20% can reap big rewards. The combination of small changes made in many gardens can add up to significant impacts.
Designscapes Colorado Inc.
1. Irrigation Needs

Gardens filled with plants that need little to no supplemental irrigation to survive require less maintenance and use fewer resources. If drought is a concern where you live, there are plenty of ways to significantly lessen landscape water use.

Eliminating or reducing the size of a traditional lawn is one of the most effective ways you can reduce water use in the garden. “More importantly, it’s putting lawn where it is useful for recreation and entertaining,” says landscape architect Phil Steinhauer of Designscapes Colorado, and eliminating it on slopes or in small patches.

In this Colorado garden, Steinhauer used a native grass to create a low-water alternative to a traditional lawn.

Blue Ribbon Lady Landscaping
Sadosky recommends that homeowners ask designers what a low-water garden looks like in their area. “That question can open up communication about what plants can or can’t be used, and sets expectations for what the result will actually look like,” she says.

A landscape designer may suggest you visit local gardens or ask you to browse photos of landscapes on Houzz to get a sense of the options available for low-water plantings in your region.

Sisson Landscapes
2. Stormwater Management

A landscape designer may recommend a rain garden or bioswale, two design elements that can reduce stormwater runoff. They can help slow down water movement, clean the water and keep it out of the often-overburdened sewer systems by draining it on-site, deep-watering trees and other landscape plants in the process. Amending garden soil so it is more able to absorb and retain water can also help prevent runoff and erosion.

Calico Studio
Rain barrels collect and hold water from roof runoff in a storage tank that can be used to water garden beds.

Lauren Dunec Hoang

Leave a Reply