With natural resources diminishing and global warming at the forefront of the issues that we are faced with today, ‘living sustainably’ is becoming an increasingly common term in our vocabulary. What may surprise you is the various ways that this concept can be integrated into outdoor landscaping and design.
Living sustainably is to minimise the negative impact that your actions have on the environment. The main goals for a sustainable landscape design are to conserve water and energy, reduce waste and minimise your carbon footprint. Below are some tips on how you can incorporate the idea of sustainable living into your outdoor development to provide a beautiful space that is most beneficial for environment.
1. Garden Preservation
With the change in seasons fast approaching and the temperatures set to soar in the coming summer months, it becomes extremely important to take the correct steps to ensure your garden continues to flourish without impacting the ecosystem.
Mulch balances soil temperatures and can reduce water evaporation rates by as much as 75%, as well as providing your garden with valuable nutrients to help your plants flourish, and encouraging the habitation of worms which aerate the soil and provide a natural fertiliser. Organic mulch can be sourced from the green waste department of your local council.
Deciding what time to water your lawn plays a vital role in both the effectiveness of the water used and the health of the grass. Watering early in the morning while it is slightly cooler gives the grass the best chance to completely absorb the moisture, meaning less water is required for the best result. Avoid overwatering your lawn and try and limit water use to a maximum of two times a week. Set a timer on your reticulation and attach a rain sensor to prevent unnecessary water usage after rainfall.
The type of soil in your yard also has a huge impact on the amount of water that is absorbed and retained from the roots of the plants and grass. Ensure you are not wasting both time and money by hosting sandy, water repellent soils and put some care into maintaining the correct garden conditions. There are many soil improvement products currently on the market to maximize your results and minimize water use.
2. Gravel Over Grass
Minimize the water use needed for large patches of lawn or garden beds by incorporating stone or rock features into your landscape design. Low maintenance and cost effective, you will be minimising your impact on the environment and creating a dynamic, eye catching outdoor space. Use a combination of textures and sizes to add drama to the area.
3. Recycle and Reuse
Recycled materials provide the perfect opportunity to add unique, artistic elements to your outdoor space, while helping reduce your negative impact on the environment. Save the cutting down of trees by incorporating recycled timber into furniture design, or repurpose old materials to create a statement piece for your back yard. This is the perfect opportunity to get creative and take on a DIY project!
4. Low Voltage Lighting
Lighting is an important part of any outdoor space as it helps to really bring the setting to life. However, traditional halogen outdoor lighting can be extremely harmful for the environment due to the large of amount of non-renewable energy they use. We recommend using low voltage LED lights as they provide a great dramatic effect in your outdoor area, using a fraction of the power that regular halogen lights use. There are a number of low voltage LED options currently on the market ranging from classic to contemporary, accommodating for all of your design ideas.
5. Water Wise Plants
Be strategic when deciding which plants to include in your outdoor setting, and build a garden that won’t require too much water supply. Luckily for us, native Australian plants are both beautiful and environmentally friendly, requiring little maintenance and flourishing on a restricted supply of water. If using more water heavy foliage in the yard, incorporate plants strategically as accents of your garden instead of the main attraction. Group them into sections of varying water needs so water is not wasted on those low maintenance plants.
Fancy some eco-friendly edibles in your garden? Mulberry, fig, loquat and olive plants require little care and can thrive on a limited water supply.
If you are interested in more ideas on how to create an environmentally friendly outdoor setting that looks great, contact one of our landscape professionals by filling out the contact form or by calling 08 9379 9686.