Each of us can play a part in the regeneration of the habitats around us… starting one garden at a time.
— Tomi Landis
Beautiful and Sustainable
Your landscape can be beautiful AND sustainable. The sustainable approach to landscape design does not imply aesthetic compromise. Sustainable landscaping adds value to your life, and your property, and it provides habitat for wildlife. And, like a good scotch, these landscapes get better as they age.
Whether it’s called bay friendly design, green design, or eco-friendly design, its purpose is the same: Sustainable gardens which allow rainwater to filter through the landscape rather than run off. Practices include digging deeply and adding soil amendments and using native plants uniquely adapted to the Chesapeake Bay area. Listings of Native Plants can be found here, https://www.nps.gov/plants/pubs/chesapeake/pdf/chesapeakenatives.pdf Sustainable landscape design results in gardens that are more hardy, requiring less maintenance and water.
Butterfly & Bee Friendly
Eco friendly gardens naturally attract the four ‘B’s’… birds, bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects… an indicator of a healthy landscape. They employ a large proportion of native perennials, shrubs and trees that attract pollinators and provide habitat and cover for nesting birds. If you want to bring in the “B’s”, introducing natives into your garden is the way to go! Rain barrels attached to downspouts are a low cost and easy way to harvest water to irrigate your new low maintenance landscape.
Save the Bay
When the peal of thunder and flash of lightening signal another deluge from the heavens, permeable patios and walkways, allow the rain to infiltrate rather than run off.
“Save the Bay” storm water management laws are increasingly mandating that homeowners retain runoff on their property. Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia do not allow contractors working on new construction to tie gutters into the combined storm water/sewer system, anymore. We see this as an opportunity for creative garden design rather than as a bureaucratic inconvenience. Our sustainable landscape design practices address drainage and run off issues while helping to replenish the ground water table.
Solutions can be as simple as disconnecting downspouts and directing them into a garden path system or shrub border. For example, pea gravel and river rock paths can act like stream beds … giving rain time to infiltrate and recharge ground water stores. A day later, that streambed path, is ready to convey a walker or water yet again.
More complex solutions can involve designing and installing permeable pavement patios or paths that direct water into reservoirs underneath the soil. We might specify flagstone patios or walkways set on stone dust. We could also lay permeable asphalt, concrete, or pavers. These materials and designed catchments, allow water to be retained and infiltrated. We construct them by digging out impermeable soils and replacing them with specially designed rock reservoirs. Engineering and sizing of these design solutions is determined by how much stormwater comes into the area. We consider drainage issues when we perform a site assessment early in the design process.
Bio retention practices such as conservation landscapes, bioswales and raingardens mitigate the damaging effects of stormwater run-off. The “working parts” of these structures aren’t visible on the surface but their underground construction is engineered to allow water to infiltrate rather than runoff.
Local governments and non-profits in the Washington DC metro area offer sustainable landscaping subsidies to offset the costs of installing these stormwater retention and filtration features on your property.
Conservation landscapes can have less grass than standard landscapes. Turf substitutes include native grasses and perennials, as well as ground covers. For example, shade loving Pennsylvania Sedge is a grass-like ground cover that needs little to no maintenance. Its soft tufts make it a low mow alternative to other turf grass alternatives and it doesn’t require frequent fertilization.
Wetland buffers and filter strips are sustainable landscape design practices used in shoreline restoration projects. They are designed to act as natural soaks for storm water, keeping runoff out of adjacent streams and creeks.
We create beautiful, sustainable landscapes throughout the Washington DC metropolitan area including the Virginia and Maryland suburbs. If you’re ready to talk about how to make the most of the outdoor areas of your home, please contact one of our landscape designers.