Sustainable Residential Landscapes – A Three Part Series: Part 2

Posted on | September 27, 2011 | 3 Comments

In Part Two of our three-part series about sustainability, Dan Sears, of Sears Design Group in Raleigh, continues to share some principles of sustainability and how they can be incorporated into an outdoor living design.

“Many people may have the impression that sustainable design means xeriscape – but it can also mean so much more.”  (Xeriscape refers to water-conserving landscape techniques which include drought tolerant plants, like cacti and lots of gravel mulch, with little or no irrigation.) “We want to emphasize that sustainable design for our region and climate doesn’t mean having no lawn and using cacti!” says Sears.

Dan explains that xeriscaping became a popular trend in the mid-1980s especially in the southwest US.  It mimicked the natural landscape of the desert region and was meant to save money while conserving resources. “We want to emphasize that sustainable design for our region and climate does not necessarily mean having no lawn and using cacti!” says Sears.  Using a judicious approach, the design can balance the desire for a lush and beautiful landscape with the reality of the shortage of rainfall.
Sears Sustainable, Sustainable Landscape Design Brought to you by NC Design Online, Charlotte, NC
Images Courtesy of Sears Design Group

Sustainable designs need to be cost effective.
Example above of pervious surfaces to reduce storm water runoff—soil water retention is increased by reducing larger paving surfaces. Native stones have been carefully placed to provide a functional and aesthetic path to the garden pond beyond. The limited area of lawn includes shrub beds and shade trees while still providing high visibility to the garden pond. Garden ponds provide water for irrigation.

Sears Sustainable, Sustainable Landscape Design, Brought to you by NC Design Online, Charlotte North Carolina

Sustainable designs should be visually pleasing.
Example above of greatly reduced lawn, adaptive plant materials and sustainable hardscapes. Reduced lawn and use of a variety of low and medium adaptive plantings provides a good view to the front of this classic home. Instead of a traditional open lawn pane, a central garden is created by a welcoming circular walk leading to the front door from the street.

Images Courtesy of Sears Design Group

Sustainable designs should be functional.
Example above of protection of woodland, protection from deer, storm water management sustainable hardscape and landscape . The courtyard wall provides a physical separation to the woods that surround it while still allowing the owner to enjoy the outdoors. The wall also keeps the wildlife from sampling the ornamental plantings and flowers. Birds and butterfly visits are frequent during the growing season. The simple yet sturdy hardscape drains into the planting spaces for water conservation.

Award winning and often-published, Sears Design Group, P.A., Landscape Architects, is a Research Triangle based design firm with offices in downtown Raleigh.

Read more about sustainable design.

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3 Responses to “Sustainable Residential Landscapes – A Three Part Series: Part 2”

  1. Ellen Reed
    September 29th, 2011 @ 8:39 AM

    Interesting…thank you!

  2. landscaping spokane
    April 18th, 2012 @ 4:27 AM

    I agree that sustainable design must be pleasing. It must be something that pleases the eye of one person.

  3. Liz Hughes
    April 18th, 2012 @ 7:39 AM

    Thank You Copper Creek. Your work is beautiful and definitely pleases the eye.

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