Creating a Sustainable Landscape Design

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Triple digit heat is here and everyone with lush green grass is sweating bullets trying to maintain their lawn. In our last blog post, we talked about the pros and cons of artificial turf but there are other ways you can have a sustainable landscape without high maintenance. Xeriscaping is a type of popular landscape design using native plants and usually requiring less water. In addition to saving money and being practical, xeriscapes can also be beautiful and inspiring.

Get to know a Pro

A professional landscape designer will know which plants are suitable for your area and which ones will thrive in combination with each other. The best option is to find a design/build company that will help you bring your ideas to life on paper and in the ground.

A licensed landscape designer will be able to lay out your arrangements in the best way possible. Choosing less thirsty plants and arranging them wisely will save you time and money since you will need to water less frequently. A well-designed irrigation system will also soak the foliage without wasting water, giving your plants enough water to establish strong root systems.

Some people keep part of their property as a grass lawn and use native desert plants to create beautiful landscaped areas as well. Low-water-use plants come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and textures. A professional landscape designer will help you choose plants you like and that will also complement your home. Together, you can design an arrangement of plants that uses less water and looks stunning.

Choose Drought-Tolerant Native Plants

Gorgeous landscapes can be created using a mixture of trees, shrubs, flowering plants and ground cover. Cacti and succulents are great choices when it comes to drought-resistant plants, and some of them have beautiful and striking appearances. Agaves are flowering cacti that produce leaves in the shape of rosettes, and some of them have impressive bloom spikes, like the Foxtail Agave.

Your agave will do well in the partial shade of a taller plant like the Arizona Rosewood. This is a large shrub or small tree that grows to be ten feet high. It’s a dark green, leafy evergreen that fills out to about eight feet across. It produces white clusters of flowers in the spring and early summer, and the Arizona Rosewood can thrive in full sun. It’s great for creating an informal hedge and is very attractive to bees.

Justicia is an evergreen shrub that has long red blossoms that bloom for much of the year. It’s a desert plant that does well if you water it infrequently but deeply. The Chuparosa, a Justicia plant native to the Sonoran desert, can grow to six feet tall and wide. This provides shelter for wildlife and, as a matter of fact, hummingbirds are highly attracted to the flowers.

Consider Sustainable Landscaping

Other types of sustainable landscaping include artificial turf and hardscape. Artificial turf looks lush and green, requires no mowing and doesn’t need to be watered, just cleaned now and then. Although it’s expensive, using artificial turf means you don’t have to invest in sprinklers or a yard service. Artificial turf is made of plastic and it can get hot, so using it in shady areas is the best idea.

For an outdoor area that you don’t want to maintain and that you want to use for recreation, there are many selections when it comes to installing a hardscape. Just a few suggestions include installing pavers around a fire pit, creating a patio area and sculpting a few winding walking trails. An experienced landscape designer can help you determine the best place to put plantings, hardscape and artificial turf on your property.

Avoid Common Mistakes

  • Not taking into account how much space mature plants will need.
  • Choosing plants that will require a lot of maintenance.
  • Not planning irrigation around ground gradients and water flow.
  • Leaving out some of the costs of a project in your initial plan.
  • Not designating enough outside area for relaxation and recreation.

You will want to make sure to leave space for future projects. Are you planning to install a pool or an outdoor kitchen at some point? Now is the time to decide where your future project will be sited. It’s very difficult to move existing landscaping once it has taken hold.
When you consult with a landscape designer, all of these issues will be considered and you’ll be one step closer to making your landscape dreams come true.

Bill Jenkins

 Bill Jenkins  is a second-generation landscape contractor with a passion for providing quality products and service to the valley for over 30 years. He enjoys gardening and growing roses, his grandfather was a champion rose grower and shared his love of roses with him when he was young. His father set an example for him to use only the   best quality products and to give clients exceptional service.