Sustainable Residential Landscapes – Part 3 of a Three-Part Series

Posted on | September 30, 2011 | No Comments

In this 3 part Series, Ron Price and Dan Sears of Sears Design Group in Raleigh have been sharing the principles of sustainability in outdoor living.

Images Courtesy of Sears Design Group

According to Dan, “Sustainable landscapes give back to the environment and society by cleaning the water and air, reversing climate change and restoring the habitat – all while providing social and economic benefits to both the immediate site and the surrounding community.”

Sustainable designs should work in harmony with nature.
Above example – Pervious pavements and grasses create a relaxed yet elegant design. The driveway and curbing promote retention of groundwater. The ornamental grasses selected tolerate a wide variety of environmental conditions and provide a nice edge to transition into the retained woodland beyond. The reduced areas of turf provide a contrast to the native and adaptive plantings.

Sustainable designs should be environmentally sound.
Example above of an urban forest sanctuary (that was formerly a lawn). The setting for this backyard belies its urban surroundings. Heavy organic mulch in the beds increases water retention, reduces weeds and creates a better growing environment for the forest floor plantings. The crushed gravel path provides the owner with a relaxing view and functional access.

“Reducing the negative effect on the environment is what sustainability is all about,” Ron explains.   “It also lessens costs through energy efficient solutions.” With thoughtful and proper design, and appropriate sourcing, homeowners can have the outdoor living space of their dreams—and keep the planet protected for generations to come.

Images Courtesy of Sears Design Group

Sustainable designs should be cost effective.
Above example of cost and materials saving – Reduced lawn areas and increased adaptive plantings and perennials. These evoke a traditional planting motif. Rather than selecting a more common concrete path, the natural stepping stones minimize the drainage impact.  The smaller turf area around the house is enhanced with well-placed trees and plant beds that create a more formal setting while requiring less maintenance.

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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