By MG Calla
In the gardening world a bold new concept has arisen, the idea of Green Landscaping. With awareness of environmental issues and lessening our carbon footprint, gardeners are looking to green landscaping projects to do their small part to make a difference in the environment. Green landscaping is a sustainable landscape improvement project that satisfies our current needs without compromising the needs of future generations. Whenever the term "green" is associated with a product or way of life, it means environmentally friendly thus nothing harmful to the universe is used.
In gardening, "Green" means utilizing wild flowers, native plant material, and groundcovers (as opposed to labor-intensive lawns) in the landscape; thus reducing overall maintenance and conserving water. Any water use is provided by rainwater harvesting. Water consumption is often the first thing noted about a green landscape's performance. With landscapes are one of the heaviest consumers of water, then water efficiency is an important evaluator of performance. With green landscaping 100% of irrigation water needs is supplied from onsite gray water and harvested rainwater. Naturally fertilizing the soil by raising chickens or composting is used instead of harsh chemicals. Gardens are laid out and plotted in ways to control storm water runoff, by creating rain gardens, and reusing the water in the garden rather than allowing it to flood streets waterways. Beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs are introduced into the landscape to control pest rather than the use of pesticide sprays.
Green landscaping is designed to make the outside beautiful, cost-effective, lean and green. But green landscaping can also have an effect on our heating and cooling bills. Well placed plants can help buildings be more heat-efficient leading to reduced reliance on air-conditioning and heating measures. Planting trees as a windbreak to protect homes from cold winds and weather can be a great way to reduce energy bills. Planting deciduous trees or vines on the South side (which gets the most sun for the longest period of time) of a building to shade it in the summer and allow warming sunshine through in the winter. Also planting deciduous trees and vines on the west side of your garden to block some of the evening glair and heat in the summer, but that same heat can be helpful warming the home in the winter months.
The four main aspects of green landscaping are:
1. Minimal maintenance – Longer intervals between feeding, watering, manicuring, and maintaining mechanical systems such as irrigation, lighting and equipment.
2. Reduced labor - Less input and importation required of water, fertilizer, toxic or non-biodegradable chemicals for biological controls, electricity, and fuel for equipment and maintenance vehicles.
3. Environmentally friendly - elimination of pollution caused by synthetic fertilizers, toxic chemicals for biological control, petro-synthetic fuels used to operate systems, equipment and vehicles, and other sources of pollution coming from either on or off site.
4. Healthier Surroundings - Improved vigor and variety of living systems including soil, plants and animals. Green landscaping is good for plants, landscapes, animals, people and the planet.
This article appears in the December 27, 2014 edition of Data News Weekly.
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