The Watershed Approach to Sustainable Landscaping

Guidelines to achieving sustainable landscape design

Sustainable landscaping revolves around three central practices:

1)   Foster Living Soils.

  • Integrate Compost – improve soil health, productivity, water retention capacity, and carbon sequestration value
  • Mulch the Top-layer – limit water lost to evaporation
  • Reduce or Eliminate Pesticides & Herbicides – allow critical soil microbes to reproduce and thrive, limit human and animal exposure to harmful chemicals entering landscapes, and cut landscape input costs
  • De-Compact Soils – allow subsurface air and water flow, plant growth, and water storage

2)   Conserve Water and Stretch Potable Water Supplies.    

  • Use Permeable Landscape Materials – clean and absorb water, recharge groundwater, and limit the need for supplemental irrigation
  • Capture and Retain Rainwater – limit the need for supplemental irrigation, and reduce stormwater runoff
  • Consider Graywater – limit the need for supplemental irrigation, and reduce wastewater flow
  • Minimize Supplemental Irrigation – augment natural supply only when needed with efficient devices at appropriate times

3)   Select and Properly Install Appropriate Plant and Landscape Materials.

  • Use the Right Plant at the Right Place and Right Time – choose non-invasive, native or climate-appropriate plants for a specific climate and geography; space plants for mature size; and plant in the appropriate seasons to help build soils, conserve water, and provide habitat.

For a quick read on the Watershed Approach to sustainable Landscaping, check out the linked document.

Demonstration Landscape Photos