A report by Global Green Growth Institute shows environmental degradation costs governments and landowners over $10.6 trillion a year, translating to 17% of the world’s GDP. The natural resources have been overlooked and under-protected, leading to considerable economic and social impacts. Environmental sustainability cannot be separated from commercial viability. Both elements must be embraced to create an eco-friendly world. If you’re dreaming of building an eco-friendly structure like a timber patio to transform your outdoor garden area or designing a sustainable landscape, some key principles have to be considered. These principles include preservation of the vegetation, conservation of materials, treating water as a precious resource and valuing soils.
Water is a Precious Resource
Water is precious. Whether you’re using it for personal pleasure or completing outdoor home additions such as a swimming pool or a fountain, sustainable measures must be undertaken. Treating it as a resource means protecting it as well as preserving it. A sustainable gardener will find ways to trap rainwater on site and use it for irrigation, ornamental water features, or even for home use. Water conservation within the yard is vital in reducing demand on the municipal water supply. It results in reduced water bills while simultaneously decreasing flooding and runoff.
Vegetative Cover and Soil Value
Removing the natural vegetation cover interferes with the soil and has consequences. Reduced or no vegetation leads to soil erosion, reduced soil health, loss of physical capacity for stormwater management, decreased filtration and groundwater recharge. Coming up with a plan that defines a vegetation protection zone will preserve or restore plant biomass and maintain native plant communities. The soil is vital for a sustainable garden. It provides numerous benefits, including the absorption of rainfall and quelling of floods; cleansing and storage of water; storage of atmospheric carbon; and providing a habitat for microorganisms and earthworms that add value to the soil. Therefore, a sustainable approach is coming up with a soil management plan like defining soil protection zones and assisting in restoration efforts.
Conserving Material Resources
This practice involves the use of renewable materials, local materials and low energy materials. Renewable materials replenish themselves over an indefinite period. For your garden, employ renewable energy systems by using solar panels and wind power turbines. Conserve and use local materials already in the site such as compound waste and kitchen waste to make compost that can be used for soil enrichment. Reusing hardscaping materials such as old bricks, stones or pebbles to line planting beds, and utilizing timber from felled trees are ways of conserving material resources. Additionally, embracing low energy input materials helps to minimize energy consumption.
Treating natural resources as future assets begins at your home. Embracing sustainable landscaping in your garden design brings lots of economic and social benefits. Incorporate these tips into your sustainable garden design to create lush green spaces in your backyard.
Blog: Jennifer Dawson – Sustainable Landscaping