Sustainable Landscape Ideas

  • Aim downspouts away from foundations and pavement and onto relatively flat or slightly sunken lawn areas (swales) or landscape beds.
  • Install a rain garden - a small garden designed to catch and temporarily hold rain water from a roof, driveway or other open area. (NebGuides available: Rain Garden Design for Homeowners, Plant Selection for Rain Gardens in Nebraska, and Installing a Rain Garden in Your Yard).
  • Use natural drainage patterns, site grading and/or berms to channel rainwater away from impervious surfaces and onto planted areas.
  • Collect rain water in rain barrels or a cistern.
  • Plant and maintain dense, healthy plant cover, especially on slopes.
  • Avoid the use of high maintenance turfgrass on steep slopes, in deep shade, or in areas that are awkward to reach for mowing or watering such as narrow turf strips.  Instead, select adapted or native turfgrass or other ground covers that require less water, ferilizer and mowing.
  • Plant trees and shrubs; the leaves intercept and slow rainfall and the roots hold soil to prevent erosion. 
  • Increase the use of properly sited landscape beds to reduce large expanses of turfgrass, thus potentially reducing irrigation and pesticide inputs.
  • Keep hard, impervious surfaces which don't soak in water to a minimum. Where feasible, use permeable surfaces such as bricks, cobblestones, gravel, interlocking pavers, porous pavement, or mulch.
  • Amend soils with organic matter. Avoid or relieve soil compaction to increase infiltration of water and to promote healthy root growth.
  • Core aerate turfgrass to enhance water infiltration through thatch or compacted surface soil layers.
  • Conserve water.  Don't overwater or let water run off during irrigation. Saturated soils increase the potential for water runoff during irrigation and rainfall.
  • During new home construction, take an active role in developing a sustainable property design before grading and construction begins.

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