A perfectly manicured lawn used to be a sign of wealth and status. In the US, about 44 million acres of land are currently dedicated to lawns. That’s an area larger than New England. But priorities and aesthetics are changing. Instead of tending to a lawn, more properties are looking for ways to embrace nature and connect with the ecosystem.
THE PROBLEM WITH LAWNS
Lawns do very little to boost biodiversity or contribute to the ecosystem. On top of that, they are incredibly resource-draining and expensive to maintain.
Check out this webcast: 3 sustainable landscaping experts discuss ways to support bees, buildings, and budgets.
THE SHIFT TO SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPING: 10 TRENDS TO WATCH
When it comes to issues like pollinator conservation, change happens right in your own backyard. Property teams are uniquely positioned to make a direct impact by opting for some sustainable swaps. Here are 10 of the top trends in sustainable landscape design.
1. GROWING NATIVE PLANTS
Landscaping designs have been shifting away from purely decorative plants and incorporating more native plants. Because they have evolved to thrive in your climate, they need less water and maintenance. They also promote biodiversity, support local wildlife, and contribute to more resilient ecosystems.
2. WATER EFFICIENCY
No one wants a crunchy brown lawn. But keeping it lush and green requires an immense amount of water, especially in hot, dry climates. Water scarcity concerns have led to the adoption of water-efficient landscaping practices. This includes drought-tolerant plants, efficient irrigation systems, and harvesting rainwater to reduce water consumption.
3. POLLINATOR-FRIENDLY GARDENS
One of the greatest challenges bees face is a lack of habitat and food resources. Corporate real estate is uniquely positioned to make a positive impact by transforming properties into pollinator-friendly oases. Flowering plants aren’t just eye-catching – they provide essential nectar and habitat for pollinators.
Get the guide: 6 principles of planting a pollinator-friendly garden
4. EDIBLE LANDSCAPING
Beautiful landscaping can be functional too. Adding edible plants like fruits, vegetables, and herbs into your design promotes local food production. An edible garden also makes a great hub for tenant engagement activities like cooking workshops or gardening classes.
5. SAYING NO TO PESTICIDES
To promote environmental health, landscaping practices are moving away from chemicals and pesticides. Integrated pest management techniques and organic fertilizers are being used to keep plants healthy without sacrificing pollinators.
6. EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Many sustainable landscaping projects incorporate interactive and educational components. These aim to raise awareness about the benefits of sustainable practices and inspire communities to adopt similar approaches. This is why environmental education is a key part of an Alvéole beekeeping program. Once someone falls in love with bees, they feel a greater need to protect them.
7. PERMACULTURE AND REGENERATIVE DESIGN
Permaculture is a self-sufficient approach to land management which aims to mimic nature. In landscaping design, this can look like maximizing resource use, minimizing waste, and fostering ecological balance.
8. WILDLIFE-FRIENDLY FEATURES
Design elements like wildlife corridors, birdhouses, and wild bee homes are being integrated into landscapes to support local fauna. BeeHomes offer solitary wild bees a safe place to lay their eggs. At the same time, they give people a unique opportunity to observe their nesting process up close.
9. GREEN ROOFS AND WALLS
Urban landscaping has seen an increase in green roofs and walls. This involves integrating plants and other nature-based solutions in underused spaces of a building. These features can improve energy efficiency, air quality, and stormwater management.
10. MINIMALIST AND LOW-MAINTENANCE DESIGNS
Sustainable landscapes often emphasize simplicity, making them low maintenance. This reduces the need for frequent pruning, mowing, and other labor-intensive practices, making them more cost effective.
Thinking about jumping on one of these trends at your own property?
Our team of specialists can guide you towards the best sustainable solution to make the most of your space and benefit the environment.