Four Principles of Sustainable Landscaping

#1 Treat Water as a Resource

green grass water conservationThe demand for water is high. Rainwater is usually treated as “waste” and allowed to flow into gutters and sewers. A sustainable landscaping approach sees water as a valuable resource. With proper design and plant selection the need for irrigation can be reduced or eliminated. Methods of rainwater harvesting can include the use of bio-swales, rain gardens, proper grading, above ground rain barrels, capturing storm water on site and using it for irrigation, use of permeable pavers in the landscape, capturing rain water in below ground tanks and cisterns. Water conservation and storm water management in each individual’s yard is vital to reduce the demand on municipal water supply, reduce the home owner water bills, whilst decreasing flooding and run-off.

#2 Value Your Soil

Soil compaction leads to problems such as restricted plant growth, weed infestations, erosion, runoff and flooding. Runoff caused by compacted soils is one of the main sources of water pollution. Lawn compaction is decreased by core aeration annually or bi-annually. Flowerbed soils should be amended to decrease compaction, increase fertility and soil eco-system then planted with appropriate choices of plants for the location and then mulched. Proper grading, use of retaining and/or garden walls, use of drainage pipes and bio-swales can prevent erosion, run-off and flooding and thus decrease compaction. Low impact landscaping methods will decrease compaction of soil, preserve existing soil on-site, decrease removal of existing soil and introduce water permeable aggregates and landscape materials such as permeable interlocking pavers on Gator Base*, use of Geo-Grids to contain appropriate drainable aggregates. Please read Harmony Gardens Landscaping blogs on building an organic soil.

#3 Preserve Existing Materials On-Site

garden overhaul landscaping softscape ottawaMoving materials on and off properties affects our carbon footprint in a big way. Removal of soil can affect the existing ecosystem thus its balance and harmony. Traditional methods of landscape construction can be destructive and counterproductive. There are sustainable ways to lower our environmental impact and yet provide safe, sound proper hard and soft landscaping. There are drive grids* and geo-grids* made from recycled materials which will hold aggregates in place for a firm foundation for all hardscaping including driveways, patios, and walkways without the usual depth of excavation and tonnage of aggregates. These geo-grids reduce hard landscaping base thickness up to 50% which means less soil and subsoil is excavated and removed off site.

Augmenting and amending the soil of existing flowerbeds and in developing new flowerbeds is preferable over removal of soil off-site. Appropriate plant choices for the location are vital utilizing native and nativar plants. Ornamental grasses can be a very good choice. Drought-tolerant garden designs (xeriscaping) decrease the need for watering. The right plant in the right place is important.

#4 Conserve Material Resources

Traditional landscape construction produces high amounts of yard and construction waste. Many of the hardscape materials used are energy intensive and transported hundreds or thousands of miles. A sustainable approach reduces yard and construction waste by utilizing low impact development methods and recycling construction waste. Furthermore building materials are carefully selected using locally sourced materials as much as possible. Harmony Gardens Landscaping Inc uses interlocking pavers from Permacon, Techo-Bloc and Unilock. Permacon pavers are made in Metcalfe, On. (now a part of Ottawa). Techo-Bloc pavers and Unilock pavers are constructed in southern Ontario. Aquascape’s rainwater harvesting system and decorative water features are made in Concord, Ontario.

Harmony Gardens Landscaping –
Leading Sustainable Landscaping in Ottawa

Not only is it possible to provide environmentally friendly, sustainable, green landscaping we can transform your yard utilizing all of these principles, whilst maintaining low impact site development, harvesting rainwater, and managing storm water, yet providing beautiful, functional landscapes that will save you money on utility expenses, increase your property value, decrease yard maintenance, prevent flooding and capture gallons of re-useable water. You can have your dream landscaped property and all the amenities desired from outdoor kitchens, fire pits, patios, gardens, walkways, pergolas, gazebos, water features, seating walls, raised gardens, vegetable trugs, children’s play areas and so on. Low impact development, sustainable landscaping does not mean limitation in design, function and beauty.