A landscape developed with sustainable practices will improve the environment by conserving resources and reducing the need for chemical applications. A sustainable landscape requires less time to manage and costs less to maintain. Not only will your landscape be lower-maintenance, but will also be functional, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally sound.
There are many ways to be more sustainable. You can compost your yard waste, mow your lawn at proper heights to reduce transpiration and maintain lawn health, capture water runoff into rain barrels or a rain garden, use more native plants in your gardens, and more.
The importance of Native Plants
The use of native plants is a great way to increase sustainability. Natives have evolved over time to naturally adapt to our soils and climate conditions and both preserve and protect natural ecosystems. They combine beauty and durability, while requiring less water and care. Native plants provide natural habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife and pollinators.
As seen in the diagram below, natives send roots deep into the earth to allow them to survive periods of drought and even sustain periodic wildfires. These deep roots also penetrate heavy soils increasing ground infiltration, solving many drainage problems often caused by excess water runoff.
“Root Systems of Prairie Plants” diagram courtesy of the Conservation Research Institute.