Everyday Design Tips to Transform Your Home

Monday, 27 July 2015

On 21:59 by Alex Mungai   No comments
A previous post outlined some of the ways in which we can embrace sustainable developments on our landscapes and this piece will discuss more techniques as we gear towards sustainable landscapes.

Reduced lawn areas/lawnless landscapes
In recent developments,the lawn is a prominent feature of most homes.The healthy green grass defines space that we use for holding events,children play area as well as for visual appeal.However, there is so much that goes into the maintenance just to make the lawn stand out and remain vibrant.For instance pest control,watering,weeding,feeding etc which has an impact on factors of time and money;mostly negative.
What if there was a way to create a beautiful front yard without necessarily featuring a lawn?.Current trends have made this possible by providing alternatives that advocate for sustainability.Reducing lawn area or lawnless landscapes save on water that is used for irrigation.The use of chemicals is also avoided hence soil remains uncontaminated as well as promoting microbial soil activities.Time that would have otherwise been spent on maintaining the lawn is spent on other activities.
Lawnless landscaping techniques include xeriscaping.Zen gardening etc.This mostly uses low maintenance landscape plants integrated with for instance rocks, stones and marbles which gives a visually appealing lawnless front yard/landscape.
Colourful desert landscape design
Zen Garden front yard design

Rain gardening
A rain garden is simply a shallow depression with plants that can withstand high moisture content.The main aim for creating a rain garden is to be able to trap runoff water either from the roof,driveway or any other landscape element.In some other terms it is actually a tool for harvesting water hence preventing the erosive power of runoffs which damage the soil.
Include colourful plants in the rain garden
Most rain gardens occur near the water source or even at the end of a bioswale.Including a few colourful plants in the garden makes it both visually appealing and a tool for sustainability.Rain gardens

Low maintenance landscapes
Landscapes have the tendency to require regular maintenance practises i.e watering,applying fertilisers,pruning,pest control among others.Lawns for instance require frequent watering to remain green and healthy.As a homeowner,this impacts negatively on time and especially money.
To avoid all these,it is very advisable to plan for landscape elements that require less maintenance.For instance,placing plants at the right places with regards to their sizes is a good initiative.Why so?Take for example a tall tree planted just outside a window.This means that if the house requires lighting,the tree will have to be pruned on regular occasions to allow light.That is not a low maintenance plant.
Mulching,when used on the landscape eliminates the need for regular maintenance such as watering since the mulch reduces the rate of evapotranspiration.The mulch as controls pest infestation eliminating the need for using chemicals,Another advantage of  mulching(organic) is that it releases nutrients to the soil and hence the plants grow well.

Using plants on the landscape is actually a great tool towards sustainable landscaping.The trick is learning how to use them effectively to achieve limitless architectural functions beyond aesthetics.A
deciduous trees planted outside a window for instance provides shade from the scorching sun during summer and allows warming of the interiors during winter.
For any home owner,this is a win-win situation since no energy is used to either cool the house during summer or warm it during winter.The best way is to consult/involve a landscape designer in the process of plant selection in order to maximise on the benefits.
Dead foliage from plants is also good for use as mulch and providing compost for use as manure on your garden.

-photos courtesy of Bing.com


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