What is Sustainable Landscape Design?

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    Many landscaping companies are conscious of sustainable landscape design when they are working on their projects for homeowners. But sometimes homeowners aren’t completely aware of these sustainable practices. The primary objective of sustainable landscape design is to reduce the number of resources used. The secondary objective, while just as important, is to reduce the amount of overall waste that is created.

    Benefits of Sustainable Landscape Design

    In order for people to see the significance of sustainable landscape design, they must first recognize the benefits of it. Some of the various advantages of sustainable landscape design are:

    • It cleans the air and water.
    • It has a positive effect on energy efficiency.
    • It has the ability to provide restoration to habitats.
    • It results in lower costs of maintenance, fertilizers, watering, and planting.
    • It results in a healthier environment.
    • It reduces water runoff.

    Due to the many financial and environmental benefits, it is no surprise why more landscaping companies are exercising these practices.

    Methods of Sustainable Landscape Design


    Sustainable landscape design can be practiced in a variety of different ways. One such method is through using plants that are specific to a particular region. With Kansas City being a zone 5 climate zone, using native plants to this region for landscaping projects will immensely benefit the environment. Native plants also support many different species of animals that are specific to that region.

    Many people don’t fully realize how much of a positive impact that plants have on themselves and the environment. They lower energy consumption, make the air we breathe healthier, and assist with water runoff. In addition to these mentioned benefits, native plants also require a lot less maintenance. Even something as simple as placing the plants in the right locations around a home or building will lower water runoff from getting into places it shouldn’t.


    Using permeable surfaces is another method, and this also reduces water runoff. The use of permeable surfaces is an extremely eco-friendly strategy that pays in dividends towards the environment. If people choose plants that don’t require a large amount of water to survive, then this results in fewer resources being spent. Something as simple as lessening the size of a lawn will result in lower water usage. Asking your landscape designer for some more information on a low-water garden is the first step in getting that sustainable design practice started. Utilizing permeable surfaces resourcefully holds rainwater right in your yard while lowering the chances of runoff from occurring. Using material like decomposed granite helps to keep the water right in the soil. Homeowners can lower the impact they have on the environment by also using materials that have been salvaged.

    Water Runoff

    The efficient management of rainwater is a beneficial method of sustainable landscape design. Installing something like a rain garden or a bioswale lowers the amount of runoff that occurs. These can drastically lessen the speed at which water will accumulate, and at the same time, clean out the water. Using a rain garden or bioswale will prevent water from getting into the sewers because it will be drained right into the trees and plants that are in the yard. Using highly absorbable soil that has the ability to hold water will prevent erosion from occurring.

    Green Roofs

    Getting a green roof installed can reduce energy consumption. They provide better insulation in comparison to traditional roofs. They also lower the levels of solar radiation that can get to the surface of the roof. If you have an air conditioning unit on the rooftop, green roofs increase the efficiency of them. The temperature levels on the surface of the roof will also be much lower with a green roof because of their ability to absorb heat.

    With this absorbed heat, it is then stored in the plants that are on the roof, effectively lowering the amount of heat that will be experienced throughout the home in the warm summer months. The Chicago City Hall saw yearly savings of $3,600 just because of their green roof alone. If trees are adequately placed in areas that will prevent the sun from glaring into a house in the summer, then this lowers the costs of cooling energy. The savings might seem small at first, but they do add up quite quickly.

    While sustainable landscape designs might appear to initially cost more than traditional designs, the overall long-term positive impacts on the yards, the environment, and the well-being of individuals, is well worth the investment.

    Looking for a sustainable landscape designer in Kansas City? Contact High Prairie today!

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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