Sustainable landscaping has been a thing for a while, but only in recent years has it caught more traction with more than just the landscapers servicing your properties. We all want to enjoy our outdoor living spaces, but how in the world do we improve our environmental footprint while increasing the beauty and value of the landscape around us?
In addition to how your landscaper services your property, there are other things that you can be looking at and collaborating with your association about. Some things to consider are:
- What smart technology can you incorporate into your property to help it be more efficient.
- What will reduce the long-term costs (maintenance & construction) on your property.
- Environmental and design advantages to being more sustainable on your landscape.
- What efficiencies/inefficiencies exist in how you are managing your property.
Use Of Smart Technology
Is there a way to automate some or all of what goes on, on your property? For example, do you have street or landscape lights that can be automated or transitioned into LED? How efficient is your irrigation clock and are you minimizing the use of excess water? How often do you utilize apps for identifying pests, diseases or other nuisances that are causing bigger issues?
Instead of meeting with your landscaper or the board each time an issue arises, are you utilizing Zoom meetings, emails, or text messages where you can communicate back and forth when an on-site meeting is not necessary? Do you utilize apps that help you better manage your landscape
and property as a whole?
Reduction Of Long-Term Costs
When planning out your annual budget, is there a way to reduce the quantity of annual flowers that you are installing? Or when you are doing a bed renovation, what plants are you specifically planning on installing? What is the long-term impact of that tree or bush that you are wanting to plant, and what additional financial impacts will it have to the property?
Water consumption can often be one of the largest cost drivers for a property. What are you/the board doing to understand and lower those costs as much as possible? Does it make sense to keep certain plants? Does it make sense to keep lawn that you have to continually pour money into each year just to keep it looking good? Has your landscape budget increased each year over the past five years?
Environmental & Design Advantage
Twenty years ago, it wasn’t very hip and trendy to design a landscape with sustainability in mind. As time has passed and experience shown, architects and designers are able to not only incorporate amazing designs into a landscape but utilize every aspect of the property to make the landscape work in your favor.
From reduction of water usage, to containment and absorption of run-off water on site to plants that don’t consume a property within ten years, there are numerous opportunities to make your property into a factory that can really make a huge impact environmentally and financially.
Management Of Property
How well are you managing the landscape that you currently have? Oftentimes, the first step is to get a good handle on what you currently have, including understanding where you are, where you think you are heading, and what options you have. Are the pruning techniques causing you to replace more plant material, quicker than you should have to? Is the over-use of fertilizers preventing your landscape from sustaining itself? What are the methods used to service your property and is there a better way to do it? There may not be, but it can’t hurt to ask!
The chart above is one representation of the differences it can make in a landscape with approaching your landscape from a ‘sustainable’ mentality. In addition to the chart, the strain that traditional
landscapes play on the infrastructure of your property (i.e. roads, pathways & buildings) is immense and as many of you reading this have seen, financially burdensome. Many people ask, where do I start? I want to play a part in this, but my property is so large and overwhelming.
Prepare A Plan
Before you do anything, come up with a plan. Have many conversations about various ideas! Learn as much as you can about your property. Recognize that you have numerous resources available to you on the board, in the community and with your service providers. Take one step at a time and although budget constraints, timing, or lack of resources may not be at our fingertips, you can tackle this little by little.
As we have all seen over the past few months, the reduction of vehicles on the road alone has improved air quality around the world, increased wildlife visibility and helped each of us to recognize just a little bit more that there is a world in front of us that is counting on us, as much as we are counting on it!