Sustainable Landscapes

Sustainable Landscapes

A sustainable landscape

Landscapes which are sustainably designed, installed and managed conserve water, lower the rate and volume of runoff water from rain, snowmelt and irrigation, and help reduce the amount of pollutants reaching surface water. Water related benefits achieved with sustainable residential, business, and community landscapes include:

  • More water soaks into soil and less water runs off of a property.
  • Roots and soil filter some pollutants from water.
  • Fewer pollutants (e.g. soil, fertilizer, pesticides, yard waste) carried off of a property in rain water.
  • Temperature of runoff water cools before reaching surface water.
  • Percolation of water through soil increases, helping replenish groundwater reserves.
  • Plant roots stabilize soil reducing soil erosion.
  • Conservation of water by reducing need and frequency of supplemental irrigation.

Properties tend to be graded and landscapes designed to direct rain and snowmelt off of a property. It is important for rain water to drain away from buildings and not form stagnant pools. However, a new landscape design trend is to capture (harvest) rainwater and melting snow to reduce the rate and the amount of water running off of a property. This allows it to infiltrate soil or be reused for landscape irrigation. Capturing runoff in this way helps reduce potential pollutants in runoff water and can reduce the demand on the drinking water supply. 

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