Sustainable means different things to different people. Here in the bay area, we are the proud leaders in the global community for sustainable landscaping and progressive actions that actively address our impact on the environment and the world at large.
With over 30 years of experience within the sustainable community in the bay area, we at Simmonds and Associates enjoy taking the time to educate our clients, neighbors, and friends of the community what it means to be sustainable and what the difference is between normal landscaping and the art of landscape architecture.
Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor spaces that brings together and considers all the physical and social elements of outdoor spaces, whether it be wind or sun and shade or creating appropriately sized outdoor areas for their purpose. Landscape architecture takes into consideration the “Big Picture”.
What is landscaping?
Landscaping is the act of building a landscape, without considering the appropriate design elements and all the factors involved.
Landscape architects are like orchestra conductors that bring together the various parts of the landscape and the various trades that create them into one harmonious outcome.
Who needs a landscape architect?
The client (person, family, or organization) who wants that harmonious outcome. The larger the outdoor space or number of spaces, the more the “Big Picture” needs to be considered.
Why are sustainable practices important?
As inhabitants of Earth, we have to take responsibility for our impact on the environment if we want to keep our planet healthy for future generations to come.
How do you make landscape architecture sustainable?
Simply put, we achieve this goal by using the least environmentally impactful practices in building landscapes.
What are some common sustainable practices used today?
Some of the most common ways we help our clients build sustainable landscapes are:
- Water Management – making the most efficient use of water possible, by using drought-resistant shrubs, smart irrigation controllers that adjust water use for individual microclimates; hydrozoning like water-use plants together, limiting evapotranspiration by using pool covers.
- Architectural Elements: Siting buildings to maximize passive solar gains and reduce energy losses due to prevailing winds, Shade structures that reduce the need for mechanical climate modification, use of permeable paving, recycled and re-purposed materials, solar pool heating.
- Planting: selecting plants that fit the size of the space they are planted in to eliminate or reduce labor and motorized maintenance equipment to eliminate or reduce the use of fossil fuels; selecting low water-use and fire-resistant plants; reducing or eliminating lawns; creating bird and butterfly food and habitat, creating home vegetable gardens.
- Lighting and Electrical: Using LED lamps, using solar energy, variable speed pumps, and anything else we can do for efficiency and to reduce use of the power grid.
Sustainable landscaping is a great way to not only improve the appearance and value of your property but also make a beneficial impact on your immediate environment.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can have your own sustainable landscape, please reach out and contact us to receive a complimentary consultation.