Innovative Green Landscaping Ideas for 2010
“People do things like xeriscaping almost out of a sense of obligation,” says Genevieve Schmidt, owner of Genevieve Schmidt Design, a landscaping company in Humboldt County, Calif. “There’s a movement away from having a heavy carbon footprint.”
Schmidt says xeriscaping has already taken a strong hold in regions that don’t see much rain, but with more eco-awareness than ever, she sees it developing as a national trend.
In a conservation effort, Mary Kay Woodworth, executive director of Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association (MALTA) in Atlanta, Ga., says water-saving technology, such as smart controllers, low-flow nozzles and soil moisture sensors, is becoming more accessible and lower priced.
“You’re going to see a lot more irrigation systems that use ET controllers to schedule irrigation based on evapotranspiration data (the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth’s surface to the atmosphere), increased retrofitting of irrigation systems and increased web-based irrigation technologies on the market,” she says.
2. Use of more native plants
“People are just getting bored with the same old ‘blah’ landscape,” says Schmidt. “When something’s regionally appropriate, it’s more special and brings some interest to the garden.”
Schmidt believes that many people prefer their gardens to reflect more of an original taste that displays species unique to their region.
Sheri Silver, owner of Fiori Garden Design in Irvington, N.Y., says that native plants are less prone to disease and as a result require less maintenance. They also attract beneficial wildlife such as butterflies and bees, which benefits the ecosystem.
3. More natural growth
Because many people are looking to go more organic and use fewer pesticides, they’re willing to accept a less manicured lawn and are changing their standard of what beautiful means, says Silver.
“We, as a country, have grown up with the ideal of the white picket fence and lush carpet of green,” she says. But now Silver thinks that people are willing to tolerate some weeds, crab grass and the occasional brown spot in an effort to use less water, and be more eco-conscious and low-maintenance.
People are also beginning to remove their lawn because of all the chemicals and water required for its upkeep. “Anyone moving to a sustainable landscape has been wanting to move away from their lawns,” says Schmidt. “It’s not the most interesting thing you can do with your space.”
4. Edible gardens
Look for more interest in gardens that are not only ornamental, but edible. Due to more awareness about pesticides and an increasing demand for healthy organic foods, Silver says people are starting to embrace the ambition of growing some of their own food. She thinks the trend became even more popular when the first lady Michelle Obama planted a vegetable garden at the White House.
“People are becoming more aware of how their food is produced and how it gets to their table,” she says.
Herb gardens are becoming especially popular among young gardeners who Woodworth says are seeking to harvest what they grow.
“The new, younger gardener doesn’t want a cookie-cutter garden,” she says. “They want to get more than just aesthetics out of it.”
But she warns that a landscaper needs to research which plants are compatible growing next to each other— considering size, appearance and harvest time—and which will grow better in certain locales.