Reasons to compost and reasons not to

The sustainable landscape is cyclical, not linear nothing goes to waste in a sustainable system. Nowhere is this truer than in the dance between living plants and compost. You have the opportunity to take part in one of the great cycles of life, and the payoff for you is healthier plants, lower fertilizer bills, richer soil, and less green waste being hauled away by noisy diesel-spewing trucks. This benefit is reason enough to compost, but when you finally harvest your finished compost and run...

Bringing in perennial food plants

In between annual veggies and fruit trees are the perennial crops, ones that live for many years without replanting. Some of them are quite familiar asparagus, artichokes, and rhubarb come to mind. They go in the ground one time and then provide you great groceries for many years with little effort other than harvesting. Perennials help build good soil use few resources extend the harvest season beyond what annuals can deliver and can be part of a perennial polyculture, a diverse ecosystem of...

Understanding ornamental grass basics

Ornamental grasses range in size from 6-inch-tall Fescue to clumps of Miscanthus that grow 8 feet tall or higher. Even bamboo is technically a grass. Grasses can be sustainable elements in the landscape as long as they're climate adapted, noninvasive, and the right size. Read up on the grasses in a good plant encyclopedia or one of the many books that specialize in ornamental grasses. Ask other gardeners or local nursery people about what works best in your area. Here are some of the basic...

Considering the path of the sun

Landscapers in the Northern Hemisphere always want to know where north is because it tells them a lot about the path of the sun during the day and at different seasons of the year. The path of the sun affects nearly everything about the landscape and is therefore important to consider when you're designing your landscape. As you know, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. It travels across the sky at a lower arc in winter and a higher arc in summer. The days are longer in summer and...

The House Warming And Coating Landscape

Wind Break Landscaping

By placing trees at strategic locations around your yard, you can make your house more comfortable all year long. Deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves in winter) provide shade in summer, keeping your house cool, and let in the sun during the winter, making your house warmer and sunnier. On the windward side, evergreen trees get in the way of the wind, creating a calm zone on your property. Shoot, you can even use trees and shrubs to funnel cooling winds onto your property. Hardscape can...

Sustainable Landscaping

Sustainable Landscaping For Dummies Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc. 111 River St. Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774 www.wiley.com Copyright 2009 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana Published simultaneously in Canada No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted...

Termites

In many climates, termites are the bane of every homeowner's existence, constantly noshing on the house and any other wood that's handy. Decks are no exceptions in fact, they're particularly vulnerable because they're hanging out there like tempting slabs of chocolate layer cake. In the old days, termite remedies were toxic to more than just the termites and didn't always work so well. Nowadays, safe, effective new control methods are available. I explain everything you need to know in the...

Shear your hedge with the proper tools

Vegetative Propagation Lawn

The formal sheared hedge has its place in the sustainable landscape. True sustainable hedge care requires holding a small goat up to the hedge while it gnaws the hedge into the proper form. If you don't have a goat, try hand hedge clippers. Electric hedge trimmers are okay, especially if your house is equipped with solar power. Gas-powered hedge trimmers aren't okay, but you already knew that. Shear hedges so the sides are slanted inward, with the top narrower than the bottom see Figure 20-5 ....

Tilling the Soil

Everyone has been taught that fluffy, thoroughly cultivated soil is the very best stuff for your plants. As it turns out, that's not true. Instead, cultivating soil destroys its texture, along with the elegant network of mycorrhizal fungi and other beneficial organisms that are essential to the well-being of your plants. Tilled soil can become clumpy or powdery, and the effects are worse if the soil is wet when tilled. Tilling also turns up weed seeds and can undo years of patient weeding in a...

Make Your Lawn Smaller

Most lawns have parts that are never used for anything other than giving the lawn mower its weekly workout. Do what savvy sustainable landscapers everywhere are doing Cut that lawn down to size Refer to Chapter 19 for the scoop on lawns and lawn alternatives. Make a lap lawn a phrase coined by a gardener I once met. Long and narrow, this type of lawn is still perfectly suited to hosting a friendly game of catch or a chase with the family pooch. After its midriff bulge has been whacked away,...

Assembling block retaining Walls

The conventional concrete block wall which is also known as a cinder block wall on a poured concrete footing is an undertaking even for professionals or very skilled amateurs. Luckily, over the past couple of decades, the popularity of segmental retaining wall systems SRWs , using blocks that fit together without mortar like Lincoln logs , has increased greatly check out Figure 12-1 in Chapter 12 for a visual . SRWs are easier to put together than conventional block walls, and most important,...

Balance Formal Versus informal

Formal Balance Food

Balance means maintaining a sense of proportion in your design. In a formal garden, you achieve balance through right-left symmetry arranged along a central axis. In other words, if you plant one lilac on the left, you have to plant an identical lilac on the right. In an informal garden, balance is asymmetrical, with differing elements arranged without a formal axis. Instead, this type of garden relies on a more subtle equilibrium of their overall mass. Have a look at the two plans in Figure...

Retaining Walls

Wind Break Landscaping

Retaining walls hold back slopes and can be used to increase the usable space on your property. Retaining walls 2 feet or less in height are easy and usually safe to build, but because taller retaining walls support impressive loads, they need to be treated as structural elements as well as visual and functional ones and are more complicated to install. Sustainable materials for short retaining walls include dry-stacked urbanite, rubble, or stones from your site or a nearby site. The newer...

Creating a concept plan

Vegetable Rain Garden Planning

After you measure your site, use a bubble diagram and your best thinking to explore the options, and create a base sheet see the preceding section , you're ready to create a concept plan like the one in Figure 6-4. Creating a concept plan for any major changes you're planning is a good idea because it makes you think about the details of what you're doing. A concept plan is a way of showing the general elements that make up your project, such as patios, walks, trees, and water features. You...

Focal points and Vantage points Grabbing peoples attention

Landscaping Focal Points

Imagine sitting out in your backyard on a balmy summer's evening, watching the water dance in your fountain. Or picture yourself coming around a corner and seeing a gorgeous persimmon tree laden with fruit, the leaves starting to turn color. Those attention-grabbing elements are called focal points. Any strong and striking visual element, such as a piece of sculpture or a particularly stunning plant, can be a focal point in your composition. Focal points are often placed on axes long, straight...

Smart Mowing Means Good Growing

Mowing with a power mower causes noise and pollution, and it uses fossil fuels. Mowing is dangerous. Mowing is bad. Flip to Chapter 19 to read more about the effects of mowing. In the meantime, this section provides some tips for mowing as smart and sustainably as possible. Besides watering, mowing is the other most-important lawn care practice. You should mow your lawn high and no, I don't mean under the influence . Maintaining grass at the proper height preserves plenty of leaf surface so...

Selecting plants that naturally thrive in your area

Choose varieties that are strong and well adapted to your growing conditions. Some species and even entire genera of plants are going to be weaklings, either because they're so far out of their element in your climate that they can't possibly thrive or because they've been hybridized for appearance at the expense of performance. cjABEft Make sure the backbone plants in your yard are survivors. Walk your neighborhood to see what does well and talk to local nursery staff and others who really...

Grading and drainage plans

A grading and drainage plan shows where the water goes. A simplified plan shows where to put swales long, shallow ditches and drainage systems to move, capture, and disburse the water on your property see Chapter 7 for examples of some water-harvesting systems . At the other end of the spectrum is a full-blown engineering plan that's highly detailed and that will be of considerable use to your contractor should you choose to hire one. kBEfl A good contractor often can get the grading right...

Gophers moles and Voles

Gophers till the soil and aren't all bad, but they can be among the most destructive and irritating garden pests. It's no fun to watch your prize kohlrabi get sucked underground in front of your eyes. Enclose plants in chicken wire cylinders with openings no smaller than 1 inch use bottomless cylinders for woody plants so their roots will escape and not be choked by the wire . Surround beds with an underground fence of hardware cloth, which is a welded wire mesh. Pit gopher snakes or cats...

Rats and mice

I wish I had better news, but there's no nice way to deal with rats and mice. You have only a few nonlethal options Good housekeeping Keeping your property clean helps minimize the problem. Eliminate piles of junk and thick vines where rodents like to hang out, and don't leave pet food outdoors. Barriers Use wire screens to close off openings to the house. Security Close the pet door at night. But when it comes to really getting rid of these critters, it's no more Mr. Ms. Warm-'n-Fuzzy...

A lesson in mulching

Mulching demands little brain power, and requires the simplest of tools. Here's how to apply an organic mulch, step by step 1. Finish grade the area to be mulched. To finish grade, smooth the soil, remove any surface rocks and debris, and make any adjustments to the terrain so that water goes where you want it when it rains no point in flooding the house, right . Dig along the edges of walks and patios, lowering soil about 3 inches below the top of the pavement. Slope the soil gradually back...

Dealing with mulch problems

Other problems with mulch tend to be inconsequential. Here are a few items that may come up Fungus amongus Organic mulches and decomposing organisms go hand in hand. Most of them are utterly harmless, but some, like dog vomit fungus and various slime molds, can be alarming to look at. And then you have artillery fungus, which spritzes little flecks of goo on walls and anything else that's nearby. Fortunately, none of these buggers causes any real damage, and they're all passing phenomena...

Working with and around natural water features

If you're fortunate enough to have a real stream or pond on your property, you have some special responsibilities. It's usually against federal and local laws to modify, pollute, excavate, harass, fold, bend, spindle, or mutilate natural bodies of water and the life in them. Be content with enjoying them as they are. If a natural waterway has been damaged and you want to restore it hats off to you , first check with your local flood control agency to see what regulations apply. You'll probably...

Beneficials are your buddies Getting to know the good insects

Beneficial insects feed on or parasitize harmful insects. Most everyone knows that ladybugs eat aphids, but ladybugs are only the beginning. One of the most voracious predators is the green lacewing, which is omnivorous and easy to establish in your garden. Other good beneficials include parasitic wasps, which feed on aphids, whiteflies, caterpillars, and other insects beneficial beetles, which eat mealybugs and scale and mites that eat thrips. As long as you don't spray pesticides in your...

Use horticultural vinegar

Horticultural vinegar is a keen way to kill weeds without nasty chemicals. It doesn't kill every weed in the book, but it's pretty effective on many, especially the young ones. Horticultural vinegar is stronger than ordinary vinegar, so treat it with care as you would any other strong acid . Weeds sprayed with this substance often die within a couple of hours. Your yard will smell like a salad for a bit otherwise, the vinegar is environmentally benign. Some nurseries carry horticultural...

Treating special water problems

Mini Sprinklers

Bacterial iron slime is an organism that inhabits some water supplies. It grows inside pipes, valves, sprinklers, drip emitters, and other parts of the system. If your pipes have greenish-brown slippery stuff inside them, chances are you've been slimed. Treatment isn't easy or practical. The best thing to do is to stick with sprinklers, avoiding drip systems and mini-sprinklers, which can easily become plugged. Hard water can affect irrigation equipment, but not as often as you may think....

Keeping Lighting Environmentally Friendly

Why bother lighting your property Lighting uses energy and involves a lot of high-tech gadgetry. Certainly, you don't need to do any lighting at all. It's supposed to be dark at night that's why the sun goes down. Still, a bit of lighting can be very nice at times. Lighting used frivolously is not so good, but a fixture used to illuminate a level change and keep people from tripping is a justifiable expenditure of resources. So is lighting for security, provided that it comes on only when...

Choosing walkon ground covers

You can use various kinds of ground covers in place of a lawn. The main difference between a ground cover and a meadow is the degree of traffic that the plants can tolerate. Meadows are fine with normal lawn use, whereas ground covers are better off with only occasional foot traffic, because they're more easily injured or recover more slowly. Ground covers provide the look of a lawn where you want a broad swath of something low to set off other, taller plantings and where you can tolerate...

Ten Totally Nonsustainable Landscaping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Knowing the nonsustainable landscaping pitfalls Avoiding resource- and money-sucking mistakes a onsidering all the nonsense that's out there about landscaping and gardening practices, I don't think you need to feel bad about committing some of the gaffes listed in this chapter. After all, it's human nature to think that if everyone's doing something, it must be right. Yet many common gardening practices are foolish, and imitating them doesn't help anyone. If you're wasting time and money or...

Using Sustainable Hardscape Features to Build an Outdoor Room

Hardscape features combine with plantings to create outdoor rooms, places that serve particular functions similar to indoor rooms eating, entertaining, working, and so on. The idea of the outdoor room goes far back in the history of landscape design. Cro-Magnon caveowners in the Paleolithic Era had spacious outdoor rooms that they used for eviscerating woolly mammoths and entertaining visiting troglodytes. Over time, the idea evolved into the modern outdoor room equipped with 50 square feet of...

Poultry in motion The chicken tractor

Chicken Tractor Movement

Chickens are multipurpose garden elements, providing cultivation, weeding, pest control, fertilizer, eggs, and cuteness all in one feathery, clucking package. Three or four hens will keep a family well supplied with eggs. Roosters will get you busted in most places, though. A classic henhouse around 4 by 8 feet, made very sturdily to keep predators out is a wonderful addition to the sustainable garden. But another approach is even more sustainable because it performs more tasks than a henhouse....

Determining how much maintenance Work to create with your design

A sustainable garden is by definition undemanding. But any living system requires some care, and you need to consider this important fact now, not later, when poor design decisions have left you with a mess that forces you to spend way more time and money on maintenance than you ever intended. I talk more about the specifics of maintenance in Chapter 20, but for now it's important to realize that the amount of care that your landscaping requires is a direct result of design. Plants that are too...

Building earthen retaining Walls

Generally speaking, using earth to hold up more earth is not the smartest thing to do. You need something stronger. Yes, you can make a low wall out of any earthen materials, but keep it 18 inches tall or less, preferably without a surcharge a slope above the wall . Refer to the earlier section Raising Earthen Garden Walls for more on creating earthen walls. One pretty amazing earth technology called superadobe really works for retaining walls, however. Visionary architect Nader Khalili...

Passive versus active water features

Pond Filtration Passive

A passive water feature is still and pumpless, such as a lovely urn with standing water and a plant or two. Because they use no energy, passive water features are the more environmentally friendly choice they create a serene mood with no negative impacts and cost very little money. An active water feature is one that uses a pump to move water for filtration purposes or for the beauty of sound and movement of the water. The most effective filter for an active water feature is a 10-inch-deep...

Creating a bubble diagram

Bubble Diagram Landscape Design

When you're ready to write down your landscape design ideas, make a rough sketch of your property on a sheet of paper. This rough sketch, or bubble diagram, doesn't have to be to scale at this point, but try to make it reasonably accurate. Then start writing words and phrases in appropriate locations new patio, remove tree, dog run, vegetable garden, and so on. The ideas you write down can include anything from problems, opportunities, and needs to desires and specific features you know you...

Integrating grasses sustainably into the landscape

Ornamental grasses make great specimen plants, ground covers, and mass plantings. They even grow in containers. Mixing grasses with perennials and shrubs gives your landscaping a natural feel. Here are some basic considerations for working grasses into your plantings Cool and uncool grasses Grasses fall into two categories cool season which are most active at . . . guess what time of year and warm season which do better in that other time of year . Mix cool- and warm-season grasses for...

Irrigation plans

Irrigation Plans

The most sustainable irrigation approach of all is a water-harvesting system. You don't really need to draw plans for that part of the project. However, you do need to understand how it all works and how to create a system on your property. I cover that thoroughly in Chapter 8. If you decide to install a permanent irrigation system, there are a couple of ways to determine how it all goes together. For most small systems, an understanding of basic irrigation design principles and a little time...

Adding an automatic irrigation controller

The busy folks at the American Water Works Association found that installing an automatic controller on a manual system increases water use by 47 percent. This statistic seems to indict controllers as being very nonsustainable. But when properly used, controllers really can save lots of water. Don't assume you need a controller. It isn't a requisite component of a good irrigation system, and there's no shame in having a manually operated system that you turn on and off yourself. Still, if you...

Knowing your termites

These wood-eating pests fall into two categories subterranean termites, which are quite widespread, and drywood termites, which live in warm climates. The Southern United States and California are at highest risk for both kinds of termites. Within these categories are a number of species, each with its specific behavior patterns. Check with local organic pest-control professionals for details on what works against the termites in your area. Subterranean termites generally are controlled with...

Construct fake fences and walls with corrugated cardboard or sheets of plywood Stake the temporary structures in place

Materials from your mock-up can come from the waste stream, of course. Buying them new and using them once would be the antithesis of what sustainable landscaping is all about, so use what you have or look to neighbors or local businesses. Dumpster diving is no shame. Oh, and that gypsum or lime is good for the soil, so no harm done there. Observe the finished landscape from every angle. Walk the paths and sit on the patio with a cool drink. See how you like it. Live with it for a few days or...

Piling up stone retaining walls

Lucky is the property owner who has an abundance of good solid stones on the land. Stones are useful for many landscaping applications, especially for retaining slopes. Even if you don't have stone on your land, local stone is low in embodied energy and delivers a durable result at little environmental cost. Speaking of cost, stone can often be had for the hauling, especially from farmers' fields and construction sites. If your soil is stable and your wall isn't too tall, start with a base...

Caring for your water feature

Bringing a new water feature into balance takes a little time. High nutrient levels and alkalis leaching from the pond shell must dissipate before you introduce permanent organisms. You'll have a big algae bloom at first, but it should diminish with time. Start with some water hyacinths, which grow very quickly and absorb nutrients and contaminants. After the growth of these plants has slowed, fojl remove them and bring in the permanent residents. You have many plant species to choose from. Be...

Brushing Up on Design Basics

Examining the elements of design Picking up design secrets from the pros Considering special design situations Designing a safe landscape ustainable or otherwise, a proper landscape has to look beautiful. And to make it look beautiful, you have to rely on the elements of design. You may be intimidated by the design aspect of your landscaping project, thinking that artsy stuff isn't your thing. But not only is design easy it's also a lot of fun. After you get the hang of it, you may find...

Exploring Lawn Alternatives

Suppose that you're ready to scrap your lawn and do something more sensible. Bravo That's a smart move, especially considering the wide of variety of low-maintenance alternatives that use much fewer resources after they're established. Everywhere you look, people are taking out their lawns and replacing them with meadows. The transformation has been described as a revolution, and it's surely one of the bright spots in modern horticulture. Instead of fertilizing and watering to make grass grow...

Fighting Lawn Pests and Diseases without Chemicals

Like giving yourself a healthy diet, exercise, and good living conditions, taking care of your lawn's soil makes all the difference. An overfertilized and overwatered lawn is the perfect place for pest and disease problems to develop. So is one that isn't mowed at the right height or isn't mowed often enough. The traditional approach is to attack the problem with chemicals, but that doesn't work if the cause of the problem isn't resolved. Pests and diseases are present in every lawn, but they...

Applying the water Sprinkler and drip systems

Sprinkler heads and drip emitters are the end of the line for the system they deliver water to your plants. Sprinklers spray water overhead and are supplied by a system of underground pipes. Drip emitters apply water very slowly, fed by tubing that's installed between the soil and the mulch. I explain both in the following sections. Refer to the later section, Applying Sustainable Watering Concepts to Your Permanent Irrigation System for more on how to sustainably use sprinkler and drip...

Spreading loose paving materials

If you want a paved surface that's easy to install, loose paving materials, such as gravel or decomposed granite d.g., as we affectionately refer to it in the business , are the way to go. However, don't apply loose materials to slopes where they can slide downhill and be dangerous to walk on they're only meant for level or nearly level ground. ttNG Many people put a layer of weed control fabric under the gravel. This practice isn't such a great idea because weeds come in from the top, their...

Remaining within the Law Considering Legal Issues

Rich Tennant Legal

The long arm of the law doesn't reach as far into landscaping as is does into other aspects of modern life. But you certainly need to consider specific legal issues when planning your sustainable landscape. Here are a few of the most important issues to keep in mind Architectural review boards A major landscaping project may require community approval to be sure its appearance is consistent with neighboring features. Check with your community's building or zoning department for specifics....

Controlling lawn pests Grubs bugs and other subsurface lurkers

Garden Pests Beetles Images

Sometimes good conditions aren't enough to stop a problem and other times it isn't possible to optimize conditions for one reason or another. That's when you step in with some natural controls, which are available from nurseries and insectaries. The following are tips on dealing with some of the most common lawn insect pests see Figure 22-3 Grubs, armyworms, and cutworms These soil-dwelling larvae cause patches of lawn to die off and also attract varmints that dig up the lawn looking for them....

Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty with Construction Details

Construction detail drawings are images of the guts of a piece of work, laid out like an X-ray so you can see exactly what to do. Nearly anything from tree staking to electric valves to patios can be the subject of construction details. See Figure 6-7 for two examples. Drainage gaps ft rn Landscape '. .'-.' ' . . .' - Bedding b material Permeable base Details are partnered with specifications, which are written instructions that cover what can't be drawn, such as how soon to water plants after...

Treating lawn diseases

Many species of fungi and other diseases attack lawns that aren't in good condition. Lawn diseases usually announce their presence with patches of dead grass. The way the patches spread and the shape and color they take on can indicate to a trained eye the type of problem that's lurking beneath the surface. See Lawn Care For Dummies for details on identifying diseases. Lawn diseases are nearly impossible to control with chemicals, but good lawn care usually keeps the diseases at bay. The best...

The Watershed Friendly Landscape

Bio Swale Detail

The rainfall that hits your roof and land runs into the street, where it contributes to urban flooding and pollution of streams, lakes, and oceans. If you make your landscaping absorbent, the ground soaks up that good water instead of wasting it. Provide plenty of planted areas instead of just pavement, make pavement permeable see Chapter 12 , create low spots in the terrain that will soak up water see Chapter 8 , build rain gardens any planting that's irrigated by...

Elements of sustainable water features

You need a vessel of some kind to hold the water a birdbath, a fountain, a ceramic pot, a prefab or custom in-ground pond made of concrete or plastic I prefer concrete , or a running streambed. Some water features are kept free of plants and fish, but the sustainable garden is about nurturing life, so consider populating your water feature. Plants and fish provide for one another and keep the system in balance so that it requires little input from you. Water features can be formal or informal,...

Dry rot

Dry rot is a fungus that, despite its name, occurs in the presence of moisture. Why it's called dry rot is anybody's guess. It can spread through a deck like cancer, turning it to powder in seemingly no time at all. Many a homeowner has stepped through his deck one sunny Saturday afternoon. It's easy to poke at your deck with an awl or screwdriver to find rotted portions, but the deck usually has concealed damage as well. All the methods of keeping a deck dry to protect it from termites are...

Surveying the types of mulch

Mulches fall into two general categories organic and inorganic. In this usage, organic has nothing to do with purity or pesticides it refers to the nature of the material. Organic mulches come from living sources inorganic ones come from minerals or other nonliving origins. Organic mulching materials include tree chips, shredded bark, pine needles, leaves, straw, nut shells, and compost. Organic mulches are the best way to go because they're part of the living cycle of nutrients. Organic...

Getting the scoop on succulents and cacti

Generally, succulents and cacti like sun, but some varieties tolerate shade. They prefer warmer climates USDA Zones 8 to10 see Chapter 4 for details on hardiness zones , but some grow as far north as parts of Canada. Because they hold water in their tissues, they're very drought tolerant, though many can accept limited regular watering under otherwise good growing conditions. They use one third to one half the water of turf. Pests and diseases are rare and there are few, if any, invasive...

Using Materials and Resources Wisely

Putting resources to good and efficient use not only reduces the impact of your landscaping project, but it also saves you money. After all, you're buying cheaper materials and using less of them. Creating a conventional landscape requires lots of materials, and over time it requires more and more resources to keep it going. Why Because most landscapes aren't designed along the lines of nature and its life cycles and systems. Nature is really good at fostering ecosystems that are...

Planting plans

Lilac Planting Plan

After you know exactly which plants you want to use check out Chapters 16, 17, and 18 for ideas , you draw them to scale. The planting plan accomplishes three things. First, it helps you to see how many plants you'll need to purchase. Second, it helps you visualize the final planting design. And third, it becomes a reference that you can use at planting time to remember exactly what you had in mind. Oh, and if you're getting a permit for your landscaping, you need a...

Nonstorage systems

Permaculture Swale Infiltration

The conventional landscape is often flat or mounded in shape, which causes it to spill water rather than absorb it. A water-harvesting landscape is concave bowl-shaped , with plenty of low points to hold valuable rainwater on the site and keep it out of the streets, where it can cause flooding and wash pollution into nearby bodies of water. This type of landscape is well suited to a nonstorage water-harvesting system. Nonstorage water harvesting involves making your landscape as absorbent as...

In this part

He sustainable landscape is a living system that's dependent on plants and all the other elements of a living ecology. Plants don't just look pretty they also do stuff that actually matters, like making food, preventing erosion, reducing energy demand inside your house, attracting beneficial insects, and a whole lot more. Of course they're pretty too, aren't they There's nothing unsustainable about that This part shows you how to use plants effectively, create beautiful plantings that demand...

Sweeping and recompacting decomposed granite

Decomposed granite also known as d.g. is a compacted granular material that develops loose particles on the surface. For safety's sake and to avoid tracking the particles into the house where they can do a number on hardwood floors , it's a good idea to sweep the particles off. An alternative method is to recompact the surface periodically with a lawn roller filled with water or with a vibratory place compactor. This compactor is, as you might guess, a big vibrating metal plate, the sole...

Weeding pavers

Weeds come up in between pavers, especially ones with open joints that make them more pervious. Naturally, you'll be tempted to spray the joints with herbicides, but instead, you can spray something quite innocent on young weeds to kill them. The secret, believe it or not, is vinegar. I'm not talking about just any vinegar although the grocery-store kind will kill very young weeds pretty well . I'm JOJ1 talking about horticultural vinegar. Horticultural vinegar is an ultrastrong version of the...

Building materials Turning one persons trash into your landscaping treasure

Your first step when trying to minimize your building material inputs is to consider how much hardscape you really need. It isn't necessary to pour a patio big enough to accommodate a wedding reception when you really just need someplace for the family to have dinner. Get into the habit of self-restraint. After deciding how much hardscape you need, determine what you already have that you can use to build it. The first place you should look for materials is in your own backyard. What you have...

Choosing a Permanent Irrigation System

After you've decided to invest in a permanent irrigation system, you have to decide what kind to get. Unfortunately, irrigation systems don't come in a nice tidy box with all the parts and instructions and special tools, as if you were buying a piece of furniture. Instead, you have to design the system to fit your particular situation, and then you have to build it from hundreds of parts gathered up from bins at the irrigation supply store. It's challenging, but anyone can do it. Your first...

Replacing an Old LaWn

The exact longevity of a lawn depends on many factors local growing conditions, type of lawn, level of care, degree of use, and the presence of pests, diseases, and weeds. Unfortunately, there comes a time when it's necessary to turn the old clunker in for a new model. In some cases, renovating and overseeding your washed-up lawn with fresh grass is sufficient see the earlier section Aerating and Renovating Your Lawn for details . But when you're faced with a...

The Food Forest

Food Forest

You eat, right Well, why not eat from your own land Growing food is easy, especially if you develop a stable food forest that uses the laws of nature to support a permanent edible ecosystem made up primarily of fruit trees and perennial plants that are durable, easy to care for, and well adapted to your climate and soil. A food forest also includes compatible animals, pollinators, water-harvesting systems, and annual food plants, such as broccoli and tomatoes. It's a complex ecosystem that...