For property owners dedicated to high-quality, environmentally friendly landscaping, it’s crucial to strive for outdoor areas that attract attention and encourage ecological sustainability. This guide introduces key principles of sustainable landscape design that can elevate your approach to creating outdoor spaces. 

By adopting the top three principles of sustainable design outlined here, you can develop areas that are aesthetically pleasing and ecologically in tune with the surrounding environment. 

With thoughtful planning and careful plant selection, your landscaping efforts can reduce water usage and increase support for local wildlife and plant species. Let this guide inspire you to discover innovative solutions that benefit your property and the environment.

The Top 3 Principles Of Sustainable Landscape Design:

 

Native Plants Are The Foundation of Sustainable Landscape Design

Ornamental juniper bush in green lawn, with tall trees in the background.

Native plants, which are indigenous to Calgary, should form the foundation of any sustainable landscape design. These hardy plants are well-adapted to the local climate and require fewer resources to thrive.

Low Maintenance

Native plants have adapted to the environment, soil conditions, and climate in Calgary over time. As a result, they do not require excessive watering, fertilizing, or pruning to survive and remain healthy. This reduces maintenance requirements and costs, benefitting both residential and commercial property owners.

Environmental Benefits

Incorporating native plants into landscape design helps create sustainable outdoor spaces that provide environmental benefits. These plants support local wildlife like birds, butterflies, and bees. They also reduce pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. 

Year-Round Interest

A well-designed native plant landscape provides year-round visual interest. While some native plants bloom during the spring and summer, others display colourful foliage in the fall. Certain evergreen native plants, such as junipers and pines, provide greenery throughout winter. With the right selection and combination of native plants, a landscape can remain vibrant in all seasons.

By making native plants the foundation of your landscape design, you can create an eco-friendly outdoor space that is low-maintenance, environmentally sustainable and provides year-round beauty.

 

Water Conservation Is Vital for Eco-Friendly Landscapes

Male contractor using hammer to install drip irrigation parts.

Landscapes that are eco-friendly assist in the conservation of water, our precious resource, by minimizing environmental impact and reducing outdoor water usage. Here is how you can accomplish it:

Efficient Irrigation

For sustainable landscapes, efficient irrigation through drip or micro-spray systems should be utilized. These systems direct water directly to the root zone of plants at a slow, controlled rate to minimize evaporation and runoff. Compared to overhead sprinklers, drip irrigation can lessen water usage by up to 60% while keeping plants healthy.

Limiting Turfgrass

Turfgrass requires significant amounts of water to remain lush and green during the growing season. Reducing the amount of turfgrass in favour of drought-tolerant plants, permeable pathways, and hardscaping features will decrease overall water demands substantially. For residential properties, limiting turfgrass to high-use areas for recreation is an impactful step towards sustainable water usage.

Rainwater Harvesting

Reusing rainwater is an excellent way to conserve this precious resource in the landscape. Rain barrels and cisterns can capture rainwater runoff from rooftops for later use in irrigation. The rainwater can then be used during dry months to water plants, saving potable water. For commercial properties, large cisterns may be installed to capture thousands of litres of rainwater for landscape irrigation.

By following the principles of efficient irrigation, limiting turfgrass, and rainwater harvesting, eco-friendly landscapes can achieve significant water savings and promote sustainable water usage. Your property’s water demands will decrease, and the local watershed will benefit from improved water quality and groundwater recharge.

 

Using Local Materials Creates A Sustainable Landscape

Lush garden with colourful flowers and a tiered stone wall with steps.

Locally-Sourced Materials

Using raw materials found in your local region, such as rocks, stones and plants native to your area, reduces the energy required to transport them to your site. This approach helps create a landscape design that blends with the natural environment. For example, in Calgary, you could use prairie grasses and limestone in your design.

Recycling and Repurposing

Reusing materials already on your property or sourcing reclaimed materials from demolition sites promotes sustainability. Things like reusing large stones as edging or path pavers, using fallen tree branches for trellising or as rustic fencing, and composting yard and food waste to create nutritious soil are all excellent ways to employ recycling in your landscape.

Permeable Surfaces

Replacing solid surfaces like concrete with permeable ones, such as gravel, and stone pavers, with spaces for water and airflow, or permeable concrete, allows for better drainage and aquifer recharge. It also reduces runoff that can pollute nearby bodies of water. Using permeable materials is an easy way to make a landscape more sustainable by working with natural water cycles rather than against them.

Choosing locally available, reclaimed and permeable materials for your landscape design is beneficial for the environment. It promotes efficient use of resources and a healthy ecological balance while also allowing you to create an attractive space reflecting your region’s natural beauty. By applying these principles, you can create a sustainable landscape that is functional, low-maintenance, and eco-friendly.

 

Build A Landscaping Project That Works With Nature

Wicker couch, chairs, and table on a rectangular stone patio.

The essence of sustainable landscape design is working with nature instead of against it. Choosing materials that allow water to flow and circulate naturally, minimizing chemical inputs and conserving water all help create a landscape in harmony with its environment. Though requiring careful planning, sustainable design yields enormous long-term benefits for the environment, property and community. With thoughtful choices, a landscape can provide beauty, productivity and value for years to come.

Elevate your outdoor spaces with Alchemy Landscape, Calgary’s leading provider of eco-friendly, creative landscaping solutions. Specializing in both residential and commercial projects, we’re committed to turning sustainability into spectacle. Ready for a transformation? Contact us today and let’s get started!