How Can I Make More Eco-Friendly Landscaping Choices?
First, let us here at Greenscape Geeks salute you for deciding to embrace better practices that keep your local environment healthy and sustainable! We'd love to be the company to provide you with the custom landscaping design that best suits your yard and lifestyle. There are several foundational tips we'll discuss here in this blog, but they serve as more of a guideline. These can be built upon to fit any kind of low-maintenance, simple curb appeal, or city landscaping options and beyond.
Contact a landscape architect with environmentally-grounded design principles
Greenscape Geeks' team of landscape professionals is a great choice. You can be sure that our methods are based on years of experience and knowledge of sustainable practices. Our eco-friendly approach is even mirrored in our mission statement:
We provide our clients with beautiful, natural landscapes through the usage of native plants and sustainable ecological practices.
You can read more about our guiding principles here, so at the end of the day, you can feel confident about the decisions you've made to be kind to your environment, wherever you are. We're a company that understands your passion and vision, it is what keeps us geeky about plants!
Narrow your focus and scope to shape your eco-vision
If you've got a fire in your belly and are just itching to grab a shovel and plant something, that is awesome! If you feel overwhelmed at first or even if you have a million ideas in your head, we suggest coming up with a list of real, achievable goals you'd like to accomplish. This will also give some guidance to our landscape architects when creating a custom plan for your needs. Additionally, this will prevent any feelings of defeat when you want to shoot for the stars but may be restricted in some way (e.g., available space, soil conditions, water runoff). Some of the most effective ways to grow an eco-friendly landscape may seem like smaller details, but they contribute to the overall mechanics and aesthetics of your design. As an example, companion plants are often overlooked because of their less unattractive qualities, or temperamental growth. However, these details matter enough to pay huge dividends over time. Speaking of time and landscaping...
Think about small and slow ecological solutions to start
Sowing seeds for prairie restoration, crafting a bioswale for a hillside landscape, and sapling plantings are all a terrific start by themselves, but installing all three at once could prove to be a bit challenging for the environment to handle. Just like it took time for an unbalance to occur, it will take the same time (if not longer) to rebalance the landscape equation. Fear not, this is nature's way of taking stock of the changes and reacting accordingly. Patience may seem in short supply, especially if you are anxious for immediate transition to a healthy, sustainable, piece of property. Consider Principle #9 of permaculture design, which asks for small and slow ecological solutions, at least at the start of building something truly unique and self-replenishing. This way, you can feel confident about your progress at the same time as you learn about your new landscape!
Embrace "local" in every sense
You hear the phrase "Support/Buy/Think Local" a lot these days, and for a good reason. It is more than just a local economy marketing mindset, it can easily be applied to ecologically-minded decision-making as well! Greenscape Geeks' cornerstone of our planting philosophy is to use native plants in any design we do. For more information on why we take this approach, read our blog post here. This has been proven, time and again, to be the most effective way to support eco-friendly landscaping as well as nurture the surrounding ecology of an area. Make native plants your preferred choice as well, and you'll see how well they adapt in a local setting. Aside from choosing plants that will look good and take care of your yard, think about your immediate neighborhood. What kinds of changes do you want to make, and how could your friends be inspired to do the same? What have like-minded folks successfully done in their own backyards? Maybe you could join forces with your next-door-neighbors to create a two lot bird sanctuary if you have limited space. Perhaps you want to see or hear some chorus frog songs in the evening and are considering a garden pond to bring the critters in to nest. Or maybe you think whatever limited grass lawn you have could be put to better use as a raised bed area for a small community garden. Over time, you'll be surprised to find passers-by inquiring about the blue jays in your newly planted trees, or the delicious-looking tomatoes and lettuce in your front yard or side yard.
Stay informed and join a community
Making these decisions can be difficult or confusing, but it doesn't have to be! There are lots of groups that are willing to lend their knowledge or assistance to help you achieve what you want out of a nurtured, ecologically sound space. Some of the ones Greenscape Geeks would recommend starting with would be a local Native Plants Society chapter (like Indiana's Facebook group). If you aim to get your kids involved as well, there are lots of educational options to teach and challenge them to think green too! Other examples of community support and awareness groups include Sierra Club chapters, forest-preservation advocates, soil and water conservation districts, and phenology tracking. This link takes you to our podcast interview with Amanda Wanlass, the Indiana Phenology Director.
Hopefully, this outline gives you some guidance to start fostering a bustling ecology in your own backyard or your neighbors. Making eco-friendly decisions for landscaping (and in general) will become second nature after a while and you can become the catalyst for change in your area. Look at your future self go! As always, comments are welcome and you can reach out to us with any further questions here.