According to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), sustainable landscape design attempts to be both attractive and in balance with the local climate and environment. Sustainability strives to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health. Through design, the residential landscape is encouraged to be functional, cost-efficient, visually pleasing, environmentally friendly and maintainable. This can be achieved by focusing on local resources such as native plant-life and attempting to limit non-native species. Other aspects include the type of hardscape products chosen and installation design. The following are just some of the ways your landscape can strive to be sustainable:
- Rainwater/graywater harvesting
- Native plants
- Native/adapted drought-tolerant plants
- Low-maintenance landscapes
- Permeable paving
- Drip/water-efficient irrigation
- Reduced lawn area
Permeability and water run-off is a main design concern. One of the main areas that can address and reduce water run-off is the driveway. By selecting natural stone pavers – cobblestone or similar – with installation on a natural sub-base and natural joints vs. concrete base/grouted joints, permeability can be achieved as well as reduction in a ‘heat island’ effect. (An example of this can be seen in the image above; reclaimed Historic European Cobblestone with installation on a natural base.)
The use of innovative low-impact materials such as natural stone or reclaimed stone for driveway, walkway or elsewhere in the landscape contributes to a sustainable landscape. Natural stone is non-toxic and lasts a lifetime. No chemicals go into its quarrying or fabricating. It is pure, and therefore void of any foreign substance that might be harmful to the earth or to your health. Natural stone is 100% natural, green, sustainable, its not made with petroleum-based resins or other manufactured materials that are produced in factories. What can be greener than a product that comes directly from the earth?
Homeowners can significantly increase the quality of the environment with thoughtful, sustainable choices in design, materials and installation. To learn more about residential landscape design, visit www.asla.org/residentialinfo.