Creating sustainable landscapes is not only a growing trend, it’s a lifestyle that is vitally important for both living generations as well as for those to come. Sustainable living practices are actions taken for the purpose of minimizing the use of non-renewable resources. In order to establish and maintain a sustainable landscape, you will need to follow practices aimed at enhancing its value to the environment. Here are five ways to avoid common mistakes and create a truly rewarding and ecologically sound landscape.
- Incorporate Healing Plants
Using medicinal plants dates back to ancient times and there are many common plants that have healing properties, some even considered weeds. For instance, the dandelion plant offers health benefits, as does lavender and sunflowers. There are also plants you can grow that will repel insects and help keep them from infesting your plants or invading your backyard barbecues.
- Make Your Own Compost
According to House Method, composting is your first line of defense for keeping your plants healthy and more resistant to disease. Many new gardeners are intimidated by the idea of building and maintaining their own compost pile. Although there are necessary components for getting the right chemistry to promote decomposition, the overall process is quite simple. Once you get it set up, it just takes periodically adding kitchen scraps, leaves, and lawn cuttings, as well as turning it about once a week with a pitchfork, to keep the pile going. You can even make compost tea, an organic energy drink for your plants.
- Prepare the Soil
The number one rule of thumb in sustainable gardening is to reduce the need for excessive fertilizing in the future by adequately preparing the soil in the beginning. It’s common, especially for new gardeners, to overlook this crucial step in their excitement to get the landscape “up and running” as soon as possible. The soil where your plants are going to live, hopefully for years to come, however, needs to be thoroughly tilled and amended with compost that adds beneficial organisms and nutrients for your plants’ roots to absorb.
- Conserve Water
An effective way to conserve water is to install rain collection tanks and rain barrels below gutter openings that deposit roof runoff. If you utilize an irrigation system, you should inspect it at least once a month to check for leaks from defective valves and heads, as well as adjusting the timing with the seasons. Another way to be efficient with your watering is to choose drought-tolerant plants that can take periods of little or no rain and still thrive. Some examples are agave, butterfly bush, and penstemon.
- Welcome Pollinators
You can not only make your garden rewarding for you and your family, you can make it a delight for pollinators, such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. They get their sweet treats and pick up pollen to spread to female flowers to bear fruit for you and your family. Some examples of beautiful pollinator-attracting plants are echinacea, black-eyed Susan, and salvia.