We're in awe of how fast this sustainability movement is taking off.
It appears that it's no longer just a word, but a movement, real. We’re just beginning to see it emerge in the landscape industry. We feel that once it gets rolling full blast it’s going to change the industry in a big hurry — and for the better. It's going to open up service opportunities that none of us imagined previously.
This growing focus on sustainability will broaden the need for the landscape industry’s professional services beyond aesthetics and deeper into ecological remediation and regeneration. Like our nation’s infrastructure (roads, bridges, water plants, etc.), our urban environments (public and private) need help.
Academia can see what’s going on and is there to help. We lifted the information below from a a neat little publication from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. Click on the headline for the concisely written 4-pager. A nice introduction to sustainable design.
1 Windbreaks and shelterbelts conserve energy, control drifting snow, provide food and shelter for wildlife, screen unwanted views, filter dust and noise, and create microclimates that benefit plant health.
2 Berms (gradually sloped mounds of soil) help define landscape spaces by creating sloping “walls” along pathways or between different areas, elevating plants for better visibility, and improving drainage and growing conditions for plants in poor soil.
3 Ornamental grasses tolerate a wide variety of conditions, provide food and cover for wildlife and offer year-round visual interest. Many of these ornamental grasses are native to the Great Plains.
4 Groundcover plants used on steep slopes eliminate dangerous turf mowing conditions, lessen precipitation runoff and soil erosion, and provide additional visual interest and biodiversity.
5 Grouping similar plants into masses creates a stronger visual impact and interest in the landscape, copies natural plant community structure, and produces stronger edges in the landscape that are important for both aesthetics and habitat.
6 Selectively use higher maintenance turfgrasses in areas of high visibility, access, and use.
7 Use lower maintenance turfgrasses and prairie or adapted grasses in areas of low use and access (not necessarily low visibility).
8 Use organic mulch in all planting beds to increase soil water retention, reduce weeds, visually strengthen bed lines through the color and texture contrast between the mulch and turf, minimize short-term swings in soil temperatures, and enhance soil structure and organic matter content.
Source: Steven N. Rodie, Extension Landscape Horticulture Specialist and Anne M. Streich, Horticulture Educator, U. of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension