Eco-Friendly Landscaping Is A Great Option

Are you considering refreshing the landscaping around your home or business? Are you interested in a new look? Are lower maintenance and less cost associated with your landscaping appealing to you? Or are you interested in making your home or business a bit more “green” and eco-friendly?

If so, green landscaping and landscaping design may be the answer for you.Eco-Friendly Landscaping

What Is Green Landscaping?

Green landscaping consists of plants, materials and designs that:

  • Produces less waste than conventional landscaping.
  • Requires less water than many traditional landscaping designs.
  • Reduces or avoids pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers.
  • Manages water and stormwater runoff in ways that reduce erosion.
  • Incorporates native plants that naturally thrive in the landscaping’s region or environment.

In short, green landscaping takes an entirely different approach to landscape design and elements. As with traditional landscaping, green landscaping seeks to achieve aesthetic goals. But at the same time, this approach prioritizes getting a visually engaging and appealing look by reducing the environmental impacts of the landscaping.

Green Landscaping Isn’t Just Good For The Environment

The benefits of green landscaping don’t end with reduced negative impacts on the environment and natural resources. With thoughtful design, choices of plants and other elements and proper execution, a green landscaping scheme has several upsides, including:

  • Lower, often significantly lower, expenses associated with creating and maintaining landscaping.
  • Less ongoing maintenance, as green landscaping, is often a more natural approach to beautifying an area, which means its plant life can thrive with less ongoing care.
  • Significantly less energy usage, typically associated with operating various gas- and electric-powered tools such as trimmers, mowers, saws, and mulching equipment.

How To Develop Green Landscaping

The most important step in planning and installing green landscaping around your home, business, or other property is evaluating the space to be landscaped. Consider how much light reaches the area and from what direction that light is coming. Areas with southern exposure tend to be exposed to the sun for more hours per day and often get more intense sunlight. Areas surrounded by tall trees, however, will see a dramatic reduction in sunlight, as will areas shaded by homes, garages, or other buildings.

Also, consider how much rainfall an area is likely to receive, and how well the area drains. The total annual rainfall in the St. Louis area averages approximately 34 inches. Springfield, Missouri sees an average of approximately 44 inches annually. For both areas, as well as much of the region, the winter months are driest, with spring normally the wettest. These annual amounts are sufficient for most species of plants, though extremely hot summer weather coupled with periods of low rainfall can be challenging to some species.

Just as important is how well an area drains. Flat, shaded areas – especially those with heavy clay content in their soil – may drain poorly, holding water that can keep soil extremely moist or for some periods, soggy. If you’re refreshing your landscaping and dealing with an area that doesn’t drain well, this may be an excellent opportunity to correct draining problems by adding soil to create a slight slope or installing a French drain to divert water.

These two factors will go a long way in determining which species of plants will thrive in an area. And when it comes to plants, choosing trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses and other plant life is a key element of green landscaping. Certainly, non-native plant life can grow in a less than favorable environment, but doing so invariably involves more care and maintenance. Choosing native plant life gives plants – and property owners – a leg up when it comes to care as these species naturally grow well in midwestern weather and soil conditions.

It’s also important to take into account the amount of sun and rain an area will receive. Those factors will help determine which native plants should be incorporated into a landscaping design.

Mulch Is A Key Element To Green Landscaping

Mulch is more than just a visual element to landscaping. Mulch offers several benefits – aesthetic and practical – to nearly any landscaping design. These benefits include:

  • Retaining moisture in soil – A layer of mulch on soil will keep the sun from baking the soil and will reduce how much moisture evaporates from that soil. This means less watering, which reduces the environmental impact of a landscaping design.
  • Combatting the growth of weeds and invasive plants Mulch naturally “chokes” unwanted plant life, denying it the sun it needs to grow. This reduces the amounts of chemical pesticides needed to keep landscaping weed free, and results in fewer chemicals polluting water supplies.
  • Providing vital nutrients to soil – As mulch slowly decomposes, nutrients and beneficial species of bacteria slowly seep into soil with each rainfall. This greatly reduces the need for fertilizers and chemicals, which in turn leads to less impact on the environment, especially water sources.
  • Creating lowmaintenance walkways – Using mulch, especially large shred wood mulch to create paths and walkways is an eco-friendly way to add a functional and decorate element to landscaping while reducing the amount of mowing needed to maintain an area. Less mowing means less air – and noise – pollution.

Add Planters To Hardscapes

“Landscaping” often conjures up images of areas across the front of houses or buildings, along walkways or patios, with shrubs, bushes, trees and other elements planted on these swaths of ground.

But this thinking overlooks an easy – and green – approach to adding plant life to hardscapes such as patios, staircases, walks, pools and decks. Planters come in an enormous selection of sizes, shapes and styles and can be easily used as design elements around a home or building. And these design elements can be moved to complement an entryway, frame a window, bring life to a concrete or brick area and more.

Planters also can be efficient when it comes to water use. A deep planter with rich soil will hold water well, and if exposed to rainfall, will in many cases only require monitoring to ensure soil stays moist. They’re also less prone to weed growth and their design can add to the aesthetic of a landscaping look.

In addition, basket style planters with coconut shell planter liners are eco-friendly, hold soil while draining well and can easily be mounted on deck railings or hung from beams or eaves. Container gardening is an increasingly popular element of landscaping using planters of various sizes and designs. Flowers, grasses, ferns, palms and shrubs grow well in planters, as do peppers and herbs.

Be Creative

Green landscaping opens a world of choices that are easily overlooked with traditional approaches to landscaping design.

Prairie grasses and wildflowers may not have been common in landscaping in the past but have grown in popularity in recent years. Planted in a well-defined area or in beds located in front yards, along driveways or walkways, or in backyards, these plants tend to be hardy, tolerate sun and heat well, and offer both a fresh, less formal look and a burst of color to landscaping.

As a bonus, stands of these plants can offer shelter and protection for wildlife, adding to the natural element they offer. They also require little maintenance and have a minimal impact on the environment and substantial visual appeal with their unusual plants and free form, natural design.

False sunflowers are an example of a native wildflower species not typically seen in landscaping, but one that adds beauty and outstanding visual appeal to a landscaping design. These perennials feature brilliant yellow flowers that stay in bloom from summer to early fall. False sunflowers are a hardy plant, and attract bees, butterflies and are native to Missouri, so they thrive even in the heat of summer.

Non-native species including succulents and cactuses can also be a part of a green landscaping design. Planting them in containers means they can spend the warm midwestern months from late April through late September outside. When temperatures drop in the fall, they can be moved inside into areas that get daily sun, then returned outdoors in late spring. This is an easy way to bring an exotic look to landscaping.

Are You Interested In Green Landscaping? Consult With The Experts At Hansen’s Tree Service Today!

Our certified arborists and plant care specialists are experts in guiding homeowners through the process of developing green landscaping designs that meet their aesthetic objectives, budget and investment of time. They can assess your property, consult with you on your specific tastes and recommend a selection of plant species which will give your home or business a polished, engaging appearance, all while minimizing negative impacts on the environment and the maintenance required to keep your landscaping beautiful and engaging.

Their extensive experience with hundreds of tree and plant species can make a crucial difference when it comes to helping you decide which trees, shrubs, flowers and plants are right for you and your situation. With their help, you can have green landscaping that will benefit your home, business, and the environment.

Contact us today and let our insured, experienced professionals take care of all your tree-related needs!






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