New Year, New Green Landscaping Ideas

 

It’s late January and New Year’s resolutions are withering in the cold. Don’t let redoing your landscaping be one of them.

Here are some sweet suggestions to reignite that creative streak and get you dreaming of green again. The best part of keeping this resolution? It keeps on giving year round. Your clients, your neighbors, AND their pets (ok, maybe not the pets), will get to enjoy the benefits of your newly beautiful office campus or yard.

1. Climatize

Learn about the traditional climate cycles where you live and plant within those natural parameters.

Native Plants Close Up Green Ideas Blog

Close up example of beautiful climate-specific native species. Photo Credit: Adam Lambre

 

Be specific to your surroundings. Planting a water-hungry garden in a dry area locks you into an anti-green cycle of over consumption.

It’s also about knowing what will thrive in the climate without the aid of pesticides or destructive upkeep practices. What you choose to plant, how you plant it, and your upkeep methodology are the biggest factors to be aware of when going green. Make smart, eco-friendly decisions from the get go and you will be in a great place to build a sustainable landscape.

 

2. Hardscapes

A growing trend in green landscaping involves building beautiful environmental features from non-living or man-made materials. Incorporating these elements in your design won’t require much maintenance and will reduce your environmental impact. Traditionally, hardscape refers to practical features like walkways and retaining walls as well as decorative elements like fountains and patios.

Plant 51 Hardscapes Green Ideas Blog

Decorative and practical hardscape examples from Jensen’s work on the Plant 51 Apartments in San Jose. Photo Credit: Adam Lambre

When planning hardscapes, be aware of how they will affect drainage in your landscape. Water from rain storms cannot be absorbed through concrete or stone, instead, it tends to contribute to runoff and oversaturation of areas which have permeable soil. Consult with landscape professionals about best practices to avoid environmentally unfriendly hardscaping.

 

3. Recycled Materials

pallet-gardening

An example of a low-maintenance pallet garden. Photo credit: Landscaping Network

Creativity is the word when incorporating recycled materials into your landscaping. Found materials can be redeployed as beautiful and cheap green accents. What materials can you find in your area that need a little love? An internet favorite is the shipping pallet:

For landscaping professionals, there are unique ways to incorporate recycled materials at a low cost to the client. To save on paving costs, urbanite, aka reclaimed urban concrete, can take the place of new concrete. It may take some getting used to, but an urbanite cobble stone path looks more interesting than fresh paving and achieves a comparable level of durability.

Make strong stylistic choices that match with the vision for the project and also include room for the natural variance that recycled materials provide. Learning to appreciate the look of a well-used object can bring complexity and depth to a landscape without becoming tacky.

 

4. Drip Systems

Far superior to spray watering systems, drip systems deliver water directly to the root system of your plants. They can be made to carry nearly any quantity of water and timed to distribute it evenly over a period of time. Basic drip systems can be purchased from your local hardware store. If you want a more advanced system, landscaping professionals can install one without breaking the bank. In the long term, a programmed drip system will save in hassle and cost by eliminating moving parts and reducing water usage.

 

5. Self-Sufficiency

An example of a low-impact alternative to fields of green. Photo Credit: Adam Lambre

 

Reduce lawnmower gas and clippings refuse by using plants that take care of themselves. In the modern era of drought, the sweeping fields of perfectly cut fresh grass are not only drab, they are also harmful to the environment. Shrubs and succulents can replace lawns, and all natural gardens can look super hip while requiring little to no pruning.

 

Additionally, these plants reduce maintenance costs year-round and will survive periods of low water. Patchy, dead grass and dirt clods will not mar your landscape if you find alternatives that will succeed regardless of conditions.

 

 

6. Native Plants

Think Global, Buy Local. The plants of your natural habitat will be far superior to imports. Learn more about Northern California natives here.

Purple Lupine flowers grow naturally all around the SF Bay Area and the California coastline. Photo Credit: Adam Lambre

 

7. Avoid Chemicals

Find natural methods of pest control. Chemicals get carried into the ground water supply and also run the risk of killing off important wildlife that can inhabit your garden.

Hall Winery Wildlife Green Ideas Blog

Some completely natural wildlife enjoying the Hall Winery landscape. Photo Credit: Adam Lambre

 

The best landscaping companies will employ methods of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). With these techniques, pesticides are used only as a last resort and always applied with caution.

In general, keep your landscape healthy and well cared for and you will reduce the necessity for chemicals. Weeds and other pests are unlikely to inhabit a garden that has healthy soil, proper care, and regular maintenance.

 

8. Compost

From your clippings, yard waste, and kitchen leftovers, you can make a glorious stinking stew of nutrient-rich soil. Or at least, that is the prevailing wisdom. In reality, proper composting doesn’t smell at all. The correct mix of water, air, and plant matter will be a healthy (and pleasant-smelling) home for earthworms to process your waste into the best potting soil around.

Plant matter is one of our most important natural resources. As a green-conscious individual or company, you have an obligation to prevent the landfill from being the final resting place of your yard waste. That plant material will be hard-pressed to find ways to return its nutrients to the soil when it is covered with hundred of pounds of plastic and garbage. Whether you sign up for a composting service, or start your own bin, make sure you don’t waste your waste.

 

 

These ideas pique your interest? Consult a Jensen Professional  about the latest in green landscaping practices.

Written by: Erik Johnson. Contact: johnsonerikpaul@gmail.com