Are Landscapes Going
By Larry Bartlett
Well, actually the landscape industry has
always been green. The environmental movement has caused an
increased awareness of the importance of plants and
horticultural practices on the world we live
Through the steady pressure of political activism and
scientific research, the landscaping industry is being
transformed from a primarily aesthetic service to one that
impacts the very sustenance of life on our planet. It is an
industry today that places a heavy emphasis on interdependence
and personal responsibility.
The good news in this new mantle we must carry is that we
haven't lost our original mission-that is an aesthetic one-to
beautify and to soften the effects of an urbanized world. It
only requires that we begin to change the way we think about
what makes a beautiful landscape.
This can be a challenge for somebody like myself whose
creativity leans more towards the traditional, manicured
landscape. It's about overcoming the urge to yank out a weed as
soon as it comes out, or in some cases planting material closer
together than it should be. Part of perfecting our art is being
challenged to create outside of our heads.
The second shift in thinking is a rational one. I have never
been one to follow the crowd. My first response to the call to
follow the "green movement" is, "why should I?" I believe that
a person should do things on purpose-being fully convinced
through empirical evidence and an intellectual examination of
the facts. So with that in mind, decide for yourself what cause
in this movement you believe in and jump right in. Perhaps,
like me, you may need to take baby steps.
The following is a brief description of the hottest new
trends in the green movement:
Xeriscaping - The design and
implementation of a landscape plan using native species, ground
covers, and grasses that require little or no irrigation.
Green Roofs -Used primarily in hotter
climates and on commercial buildings, rooftop gardens help to
absorb the radiant heat from the building and serve as a buffer
from the sun. The vegetation converts carbon dioxide to oxygen
actively because of the heat.
Rainwater Harvesting - A storm water
containment system that collects water off impermeable services
such as roofs and stores it in an underground cistern to be
used for irrigation and non-potable needs like flushing toilets
Sustainable Landscapes - A design
approach with the goal of minimal maintenance. A sustainable
design may involve a limited turf area, native species of
plants, or using gravel as a mulch.
Permeable Pavement - A specially
designed brick or concrete paver used in driveways, parking
lots and patios that allows storm water to drain through the
surface. Permeable pavers filter the water through a gravel
base and replenish groundwater supplies, instead of redirecting
runoff into rivers and streams.
What's coming next? Perhaps a carbon-offset rating on the
price tag of the plant you buy. I don't know if I'm ready for
that, but I'm sure that somehow we'll figure out a way to do
that creatively as well.