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The Top Ten Elements of Sustainable Landscape Design

January 7, 2024

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Ah, the great outdoors - a place where one can simultaneously battle mosquitoes and their own inability to keep a plant alive for more than a week. But fear not, my fellow green-thumbed (or, in my case, green-wannabee) comrades, for I bring you the holy grail of gardening: The Top Ten Elements of Sustainable Landscape Design. This isn't your grandmother's rose garden guide; no, it's the cheat sheet for those who want their backyard to be both eco-friendly and, dare I say, a tad less rebellious than a teenager.

1. Native Plants: These are the plants that were partying in your region long before humans decided to rearrange the furniture. They're adapted to local conditions, which means less water, less maintenance, and more time for you to spend admiring your garden from the comfort of your hammock.


2. Water Efficiency: Install a rain barrel, and watch your plants guzzle up that sky juice like it's happy hour at the garden bar. Drip irrigation systems are also a hit, ensuring your plants get the hydration they need without wasting a drop.


3. Organic Mulches: Not only do they make your garden bed look like it’s wearing a snazzy, earth-toned outfit, but they also reduce water loss, suppress weeds (nature's little party crashers), and improve soil quality.


4. Pollinator-Friendly Spaces: Create a buzz with a buffet for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. These little critters are the unsung heroes of your garden, so plant a variety of flowers and watch the magic happen.


5. Composting: Turn your kitchen scraps into black gold! Composting reduces waste and gives your plants a nutrient-rich snack. It’s like a recycling program but for banana peels and coffee grounds.


6. Solar-Powered Lighting: Light up your garden path with solar-powered lights. They’re like little fireflies that never get tired and don’t need batteries – a win-win for you and the environment.


7. Permeable Paving: Let the rain soak through with permeable paving, reducing runoff and making puddles (aka mosquito hot tubs) a thing of the past.


8. Diverse Planting: Mix it up with a variety of plants. It’s like a garden party where everyone’s invited – from tall trees to sassy shrubs and groundcovers. This diversity creates a healthy ecosystem and reduces the risk of plant diseases.


9. Vegetable and Herb Gardens: Grow your groceries in the backyard! There’s nothing quite like the taste of a tomato that hasn’t traveled 1,500 miles to reach your plate.


10. Sustainable Garden Art: Reuse, recycle, and get creative. That rusty bike in your garage? Boom, it's now a quirky plant stand. Sustainable art adds personality and keeps items out of the landfill.

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So there you have it, folks – a roadmap to creating a sustainable Eden in your backyard. Remember, even if your thumbs are more tech-savvy than green, with a bit of patience and these eco-friendly tips, you too can have a garden that Mother Nature would be proud to swipe right on.

~Michele Jaillet

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