“It’s such a buzz word,” says garden guru and author Ann Lovejoy, who penned Ann Lovejoy’s Organic Garden Design School, among other tomes. “In practical terms, it’s a garden that leaves you with less work to do every season in contrast with gardens that are overplanted or planted with too many materials.” By definition then, sustainable gardens require minimal outside inputs and can eventually sustain themselves. They can be grown organically as well, adding to their green appeal while also benefiting the gardener who creates them.
A sustainable garden model benefits the environment by allowing gardeners to reduce their water usage, decrease the amount of yard waste they need hauled away, and create an environment that suits their region. Tangible advantages exist for the individual as well. Sustainable gardening is more economical because it limits expenses such as chemical products or yard waste removal. Additionally, these lower-maintenance gardens free up time for gardeners to enjoy the space and grant them the satisfaction of creating an earth-friendly landscape at home.
“People want to know that what they or someone else is doing to their landscape isn’t going to create a problem down the line,” says Steve Varga, the chief horticulturist at Oregon’s ProGrass Landscape Care and Design. “They are thinking about the damage we’ve done and are bringing that [eco-conscious] attitude we use in the industry to our gardens and landscapes.”
To do right by your landscape, follow these steps to creating a sustainable garden at home.
Source Native Plants
Native plants are well-suited to the region in which they are planted, and thus require few outside inputs. They flourish in the local climate, can often survive on natural rainfall levels, and—once mature—need less watering, fertilizing, and pruning than non-native plants. Non-native plants that have been proven suitable to the region are good alternatives to diversify a landscape; you can find information about both by inquiring of the staff at your local nursery and by looking for lists of native plants online.
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