Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Eco Landscaping

Eco-landscaping allows eco-conscience homeowners to minimize their environmental impact without sacrificing a beautiful outdoor living space.

Eco-Landscaping eliminates chemicals and toxins in the landscape, conserves water and saves money through reduced energy and yard maintenance costs. It also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions responsible for climate change.

Reducing our energy consumption is one of the biggest reasons for wanting to green our home and work environments. The rising cost of energy and the impact on our global climate are important incentives to look for new approaches and technologies to reduce our energy footprint.

Rain Harvesting

Use a cistern or rain barrel to capture and store rainwater for irrigation. It reduces stormwater runoff and the GHGs associated with drinking water. Make sure your barrel is covered with a tight-fitting lid or screen to keep disease-carrying mosquitoes from breeding there. For detailed savings and GHG emission reductions associated with using rainwater for outside watering see Rain Barrel calculations.

Sustainable Vegetation

Select plants that are native to your location and require little maintenance to flourish. The more native species you maintain and plant the better it is to preserve the natural habitat around you.Whenever possible, keep the vegetation that is already there and transplant it if necessary. Common plant life within a sustainable landscape includes:

• Natural grasses and wildflowers
• Flowering and fruiting shrubs
• Evergreen trees to provide wind breaks and natural habitat
• Deciduous trees to provide shade, including fruit and nut-bearing trees.
• Organic vegetable or herb gardens.

Reusable Outdoor Materials

Elements such as decks, patios, walkways and driveways all contribute to the way you live in your landscape. If any of these elements are chosen without proper consideration, they can create a variety of problems, from lowering the value of the home to releasing toxic chemicals and polluting the environment.

• Porous materials like crushed brick, gravel, and tumbles recycled glass
• Natural stone product like flagstone, ledge rock walls
• Precast concrete products or like interlock pavers and wall systems.
• Wood from sustainable forest and recycled plastic wood products
• Organic material like compost, leaves, bark mulch or wood chips.

Sustainable Outdoor Features

An assortment of Eco-friendly gardening techniques can be integrated into your sustainable landscape. Some of the most common include:

• Xeriscaping
• Green roofs
• Bioswales
• Rain gardens
• Living walls