What is Green Landscaping?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

When landscaping reduces environmental harm as well as conserving money and resources, it is referred to as “green landscaping.” A growing awareness of environmental issues among consumers in the late 1990s led to an explosion of green landscaping projects, as gardeners realized that they could make a difference in their environment. A number of concepts come together in green landscaping to create a beautiful but also highly efficient garden.

Green landscaping is good for both people and wildlife.
Green landscaping is good for both people and wildlife.

Typically, when the term “green” is used to describe a product or way of life, it means “environmentally friendly.” Followers of the green movement believe that by reducing their own usage of resources, they can reduce their negative impact on the environment, and influence culture to the same ends. The green movement has spread from individuals to companies and businesses as well, with these organizations consciously choosing a more green way of doing business. People can build green houses, drive green cars, use green technology, and purchase green food, among many other things. Since the green movement believes that every little bit counts, many consumers start small and work their way up.

Yard waste is used for compost when green landscaping.
Yard waste is used for compost when green landscaping.

Ideally, a green garden should have little to no negative environmental impact. In fact, a green garden should benefit the environment by encouraging ecological diversity, creating a space for wildlife to live, and reducing the use of resources contributed on the part of the garden's owner. This is accomplished in a number of ways, starting with a change in garden design which puts a focus on native plants and species diversity. Resource-intensive lawns are shrunk in favor of more natural landscaping, and plants are plotted in an efficient and logical way.

Green landscaping is sometimes paired with other green measures, such as the use of green energy.
Green landscaping is sometimes paired with other green measures, such as the use of green energy.

The use of a garden plan which takes the natural environment of the region into account will certainly reduce resource usage, but most gardeners take additional measures. Yard and household plant waste are composted, and natural fertilizers are used rather than chemicals. Gardeners use integrated pest management in green landscaping, rather than toxic sprays. They also control storm water runoff, reusing the water in the garden rather than allowing it to flood waterways and spill out to sea.

An important part of green landscaping is also the ability to reduce heating and cooling bills for both businesses and homes. Well placed plants can help buildings be more heat efficient, which leads to reduced reliance on air conditioning and heating measures. When a green building is combined with green landscaping, energy bills can drop quite significantly. Planting trees as a windbreak to protect homes from cold winds and weather can be a great way to reduce energy bills. So can using a living roof of grass and native plants to insulate a building, and planting deciduous trees or vines on the South side of a building to shade it in the summer and allow sunshine through in the winter.

Green landscaping might be used to design public spaces.
Green landscaping might be used to design public spaces.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

Jester39

Green tree landscaping has finally come into its time. In the 1920s, Melaleuca trees from Australia were planted here to soak up excess water (as in the treasure we call the Everglades).

Money is being spent left and right to rectify the problem of too many Melaleuca trees. They grow like weeds and are being removed in droves.

This is what happens when men futz with nature. We never needed those trees here and now we're fighting to remove them. And can I add, they are an ugly mess!

SarahG

Florida landscaping has taught me so much.

From planting indigenous trees and flowers that belong here (and encourage butterflies and hummingbirds) to the areca palm trees that become serious windbreaks during hurricanes, there is so much to learn.

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