Plant More Plants

7 Resolutions for Sustainable Landscaping in 2015

Resolve to shop at locally owned garden centers in 2015. Pictured is the Nursery at Garden Gate in Montpelier, Virginia.

Attend a rain barrel workshop and build your own.

A soil test is inexpensive and informative.

Everybody's doing their best to form new habits and make new commitments to healthy behavior in the New Year. From diet and exercise to work and school, there’s no limit to the areas in which folks are trying to better their lives. 

To that point, your outdoor landscape is a good place to set a few resolutions, too. Check out these seven resolutions for a better sustainable landscape in 2015. 

Work with a sustainable landscape professional to help your yard look its best. 
If you plan to have any work done on your home’s landscape this year, consider using a landscaper that shares in support of the Eight Essential Principles of Conservation Landscaping. Following these principles ensures that all work is beneficial for the greater landscape of your area and sustainable for years to come. 

Shop at a locally owned garden center.
Before the days of Lowes and Home Depot, locally owned garden centers were the go-to spots for landscaping supplies, plants, and more. Unfortunately, the advent of these big box retailers has really put the squeeze on the smaller competitors, businesses owned mostly by dedicated locals with a passion for gardening. Take the time to seek out a locally owned garden center when you’re ready to make your next outdoor/landscaping purchase. Your support goes right back into the local economy, and it’s a gesture that brings nothing but good things to your community. 

Plant at least one tree.
As cliché as it may seem, planting a tree is still a very noble resolution. For example, a wooded acre has the potential to produce enough oxygen for 18 people every year. Furthermore, just one hardy tree can help fight water runoff and erosion all by itself. And it doesn’t hurt that trees boost property values significantly

Build and install a rain barrel.
Drought, drainage and water use are all important issues during every season of the year. During the summer, excess use through watering plants and lawns can cause conservation issues, and during other seasons improper drainage can cause severe runoff problems. One easy way to do your part and combat these problems is to build and install a simple rain barrel on the side of your home. The construction of a rain barrel is quite simple, and the conserved water from just one can dramatically reduce your water use while also decreasing harmful runoff. 
Replace at least one non-native plant with a native species.
Invasive, non-native species can cause real problems for the local ecosystem. One great way to counteract the negative effects of invasive import species is to replace at least one non-native plant in your yard with a sustainable native alternative. It will not only enrich your neighborhood environment, but also sow the seeds for long-term environmental health!

Get a soil test.
Soil acidity and nutrient levels vary greatly from location to location, as well as from year to year. This is why it’s important to periodically have your soil tested to ensure that it’s providing a hospitable substrate for your plants, shrubs, and trees. Get in touch with your local soil testing facility and have a sample from your yard evaluate. Your plants will thank you!

Take the Plant More Plants pledge.
Finally, take a look at the Plant More Plants pledge and use it as a guide for the next year’s worth of gardening, landscaping, and outdoor planting. The pledge serves as a comprehensive list of ways that you can improve your local landscape and ecosystem while cultivating sustainable habits for generations to come. 

Do you have any resolutions you’d like to share? Give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter to let us know!

This entry was posted in Plant More Plants, Tips and tagged in andrew cutright, greensward.

Andrew Cutright is a landscape architect and sustainable landscaping specialist. His business, Greensward LLC, serves clients throughout Northern Virginia, building and maintaining a variety of exterior architectural home features. Andrew holds two degrees from Virginia Tech: a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture and Master of Science in Landscape Architecture. 

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