turf of the past
With today's economic challenges, you may believe that landscape renovation is too expensive and daunting. While landscaping can be costly if done inefficiently, the cost savings of a sustainable garden renovation far outweigh the initial investment.
Fortunately, with landscaping you can break up the scope of the project to meet your budget. And you can keep your costs down by thinking more about conservation--on every level. The plan should be to create a landscape that respects the natural attributes of our region and contributes to the health, diversity and sustainability of our local ecosystems and watersheds. A well designed and maintained landscape will consume fewer resources and will cost less to maintain in the long run.
There is no doubt that a rich-green turf is beautiful to see; it's refreshing, cool, and peaceful. But the drawbacks of maintaining a large lawn are too significant to ignore. Our urban landscapes have been created with maximum outputs and minimal inputs. These landscapes with large lush-green manicured turf areas and non-native plants neatly sculpted require abundant irrigation, and significant use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers to maintain healthy growing conditions.
sustainability: a need, not a want
We are in a new world where the word "sustainable" holds a growing significance.
Unfortunately many of us are left to manage the landscape that was originally installed when the building or house was erected. It was typical for landscapes to be designed with mainly turfgrass covering the majority of the land, shrubs bordering buildings, and trees sprinkled throughout to provide shade in grassy areas. Seasonal color and other perennials would be added to the entrances to add interest and a splash of color. And more often than not, trailing ground covers would be added to cover the land where the turfgrass wasn't.
Over the last few decades we have maintained our landscapes with pollutants, and as the rain and irrigation water flows from the landscape into the gutters, this polluted water ends in our lakes, streams, and rivers and watersheds.
But our world has changed from when your landscape was originally designed and today where priorities have shifted. And it's up to each one of us to realize the costs and risks to our environment. Let's kick our old habits, and change our perception of the phrase "beautiful landscape" to mean "inherently beautiful and naturally sustainable ecosystem."