Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sustainable Landscaping Makes Sense

The term “yard work” makes me cringe. As a landscaper I should see dollar signs instead the phrase takes me back to my childhood days of mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, trimming hedges and raking leaves. It’s not that I’m lazy it’s just that I’ve always known that there are better ways to spend time in the outdoors. I love gardening, I loathe yard work. Think of yard work’s ugly consequence- pollution- in the form of smog, herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers and landfill debris. Millions of dollars and hours of energy are spent each year maintaining these little parcels usually just to keep up with the neighbors. We’ve turned what should be our personal oasis into our personal outdoor prison. Fortunately there’s optimism on the suburban horizon and it’s called “sustainable landscaping”.

Sustainable landscaping is the practice of creating an attractive environment in keeping with the existing surrounds. It’s been described as landscaping that contributes to human well-being and at the same time is in harmony with the natural environment. Key components are: reduction and prevention of pollution, conservation of natural resources, maximizing ecological function and a beautiful appearance. The practice takes into consideration topography, local flora and fauna, climate, water usage, and limits the input of pesticides and herbicides to none or a very minimum. These components create not only an environmentally friendly and visibly stunning landscape but also one that is easier on the pocketbook and much, much easier on the back. With sustainable landscaping the homeowner will spend more time on the boat and less time on the mower.

Here is a quick overview and some ideas to create a sustainable landscape.

Reduce that lawn. Replace unused lawn areas with drought tolerant ground covers, mass shrubbery plantings, wildflower gardens, trees, or let it revert back to nature.

Use Native Plants. Use indigenous plants instead of ornamentals given that natives have adapted to the local environment and will require less watering and pampering. Natives are typically pest resistant, require little to no fertilizer and necessitate little pruning.

Create Wildlife Habitat. As we lose wildlife habitat it’s critical for us to step up and create habitat. Song birds, beneficial insects and mammals rely on plants for food and shelter. Trees and native plantings can be home to a multitude of flora and fauna, it’s vital that they be included for a healthy habitat. The addition of a water feature will also attract animals especially in times of drought.

Eliminate Pesticides and Herbicides. Reducing lawn area and using native plantings will drastically lessen the amount of pesticide, herbicide and fertilizers needed for a beautiful yard. New organic fertilizers and pesticides work effectively, are cost efficient and don’t harm the environment. A heavy mulching over a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard will benefit plants and slow weeds.

Manage Water. A healthy landscape requires water thus it’s valuable to collect and manage rainwater before it leaves the yard. Systems such as guttering linked to catch basins and plumbed into an irrigation system is one method of collection. Construction of depressions called “rain gardens” that are linked to the rest of the yard via a slope or swell and planted with moisture loving plants will take water before it leaves the property and allow it to soak into the ground. Using pervious surfaces like concrete pavers, crushed stone and pervious concrete will keep water on the property and out of the storm drain.

These are just a few quick ideas that can be incorporated into an existing property or included in a future project. These basic principles will transform a yard at odds with nature into one that’s harmonious with it. In the process the homeowner loses surroundings requiring unnecessary toil and needless expense and gains a relaxing outdoor sanctuary where margaritas can be consumed without guilt.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Container Gardening Unlimited

Islandscape Landscaping is once again teaming up with Annie Mueller of A New Leaf Studio . Annie and ANLS create amazing floral designs for all sorts of occasions. In the past we have partnered to create the living wall entryway for the 2008 Charleston Garden Festival, flower and container gardens in and around Charleston, a highly popular guerilla gardening project and the extensive renovation of the rose gardens at Westminster Palace... well maybe not yet. With Annie's eye for color and design along with my horticultural background you can be assured that your containers will be works of art. Call us at 843-720-8675 or 843-532-7596 for more information

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm into warmer days...

We've been on a roller coaster ride with temperatures lately. One day it's 75 degrees and sunny, the next day it's 45 and overcast. I realize it's not as cold as it is in the frozen north and midwest but a 30 degree swing hurts those of us that make our living outside and anyone else that has to leave the sanctuary of a warm bed, central heat or a roaring fire. As luck would have it though it will be springtime in the lowcountry before we know it. Nevertheless on days like today I long for the smell of sunscreen, a cold drink in my hand and a refuge like the one we created for a famous writer a while ago.

Company Profile

We Are…

Islandscape Landscaping an accomplished landscaping firm created in 2000 to construct and maintain sustainable outdoor spaces while serving the needs of shrewd clients who desire exceptional services.

Our landscape construction services include design, consultation, site work, irrigation, planting, lighting, hardscape and numerous other landscape enhancements. In addition we perform total lawn and landscape maintenance services.

Islandscape’s portfolio of clients includes architects, designers, home owners, commercial property owners, developers, builders, foundations and municipalities.

Our Mission

To create and maintain gorgeous, high quality, and sustainable outdoor environments in the Charleston area by tailoring our expertise to meet the specific needs and objectives of each client.

Our Commitment…

To craft landscapes sensitive to the environment while providing the uppermost level of service possible to insure that our clients are absolutely satisfied with us, the project, and the end product.