Creating a beautiful home landscape is a richly rewarding task that will provide a spiritually calming and restorative environment for you to relax from the ordinary hectic pace of life. It is a lifetime pursuit that requires regular time and effort in addition to financial investment. You will need to spend some time doing research for the types of plants that grow well in your area, soil testing to determine the proper nutrients and fertility to add to your soil to ensure a healthy, long lasting landscape – not to mention planting, pruning, trimming, weeding, weeding and weeding!
Financial investment includes; the plants, nutrients and watering system that make up the foundation of a landscape. An eco-friendly landscape differs from a traditional landscape in the areas of plant selection, weeding methods, fertilisers and water demands. If you already have a landscape or are just get started with an idea, here are a list of things to consider in designing an eco-friendly landscape:
Plants that are native to the area are the best choice for easy to maintain, requiring minimal inputs to provide what they need to be healthy and strong in an eco-friendly landscape. Trees and other perennial plants typically require less water, fertilisers and maintenance than annual plants. Selecting a majority of perennial plants as the basis of the garden will reduce the amount of inputs of time and garden products required by the landscape. Creating smaller beds of annuals and blooming perennials set throughout the landscape will provide a changing and beautiful accent to the more permanent plantings in the garden.
Water is a precious resource that should be used as sparingly as possible in any landscape. Choosing plants with low water demands is the best way to address this issue. Use of mulches and drip irrigation or micro-sprinklers can significantly reduce water demands in any landscape, whether they are low water demand landscapes or not.
Soil testing is the only way to know for sure what fertility demands a landscape has in order to bring it to a healthy, productive balance. Eco-friendly landscapes use non-petroleum based products to restore pH balance, mineral balance and fertility to soil. Most county extension services offer soil testing, or can direct you to a local source for the testing. Garden centres in chain stores also offer a variety of home test kits.
Maintenance and Upkeep
Tending to the trees, shrubs and other plants, on a continual basis is one of the most vital aspects of maintaining an eco-friendly landscape and well worth the reward. Most landscape designs require some amount of year-round maintenance, whether it be watering, fertilising, weeding, trimming or pruning. Gaining an understanding of the maintenance demands of your landscape will take seasons over time, some websites can get you going by providing knowledge they’ve collected from seasons over time by countless individuals.
With all of the effort and financial investment involved in a landscape, consider how much of it could be eaten. Fruit trees and berry canes are perennial landscape elements that require less maintenance than annual plants, and they can feed you and your family for years to come.
Small kitchen gardens of basic crops like carrots, beets, lettuce, potatoes, onions and garlic add beauty to the landscape, reduce your grocery bill and take some of the pressure off the environment by decreasing your ecological footprint by limiting the amount of imported foods your family eats.
It may seem like a lot of effort for a drop in the bucket, but many drops flowing together create first a trickle, then a stream, then a river and eventually an ocean! Do a query of edible urban landscapes online to get a dizzying list of sites on this topic. An eco-friendly landscape benefits not just the gardener that plants and tends to it, but everyone that gets to enjoy its beauty, and the environment we all share.