AMericans love front gardens with large, carefully manicured lawns. In fact, homeowners have issued a record $ 47.8 billion in 2018 alone for purchases in the lawn and garden retail trade. Then there is the water consumption: 9 tons of gallons per year nationwide only on gardening. We consume this water even when parts of the American West are in the grip of a terrible drought this has paralyzed farmers, started huge forest fires, and some states are considering water cuts.
The reason why we spend so much time, money and natural resources on our lawn, like Kristen Radtke recently noticed The Los Angeles Times states that decades of television and popular culture have cemented a certain image of the American dream in our brains: suburban home, white picket fence, two-car garage, shiny green lawn. The problem is not just that this image is difficult for many Americans to achieve. It’s embarrassingly dated.
No one who is at the cutting edge of gardening still thinks a green lawn is the grail – especially if you live in it an area like Arizona or Utah, where there is barely enough water to get around. The most pioneering gardeners and landscape architects are more interested in designing courtyards and gardens that symbiotic with their climate.
Nowadays bloggers and Influencer in the garden world loudly avoid the water-eating green lawn while indicate their decidedly less clean landscapes. Instead of a picture-perfect garden, it’s about planting native species, storing and finding rainwater natural alternatives when pests and diseases strike.
So if our ideas about gardening are out of date and are effectively killing the planet, what is the solution? Experts will tell you that the answer lies in combining garden design with ecological function – consciously thinking about how the different parts of a landscape interact with each other and how to create the most sustainable system for these parts. And as the obsession with perfect green lawns continues to wane, there is no shortage Instructions on how to create and maintain your own environmentally friendly garden.
These sustainability ideas also apply to larger areas, says Carol Franklin, a pioneering landscape architect who has been advocating the introduction of “ecological landscaping” since 1975. She sees this departure from convention as crucial to our work to slow down the inevitable effects of the climate crisis. In your foreword to the book The principles of ecological landscaping of Travis Beck, Franklin says that “ecological design, and especially ecological plant design, is finally being understood as a critical tool for our ultimate survival”.
To some, ecological landscaping may feel like we’re giving up a popular trait of the Americana aesthetic. But like Darrel Morrison, a legendary landscape architect who has practiced and taught it for decades, told According to the New York Times, this is not so much a sacrifice as it is a new – and better – approach to an old way of life.
“A lot of people think that when they hear a phrase like ‘environmentally sound landscaping,’ they’re giving up,” he said. “But they’re not – it just enhances the experience.” For Morris, any good landscaping must be environmentally sound, experiential, dynamic, and include native species in that particular setting.
New York City High line is a large-scale example where environmental sustainability is proudly named as its core value. Essentially a green roof on top of a former one Railroad track The building is three stories above street level, the structure uses drip irrigation to allow its planting beds to retain as much water as possible, and has a plant selection that favors “native, drought tolerant and easy-care species” resources that flow into the landscape ” it says on his website. The High Line’s ecosystem also provides shelter for native bees while avoiding pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The employees compost all garden waste on site.
However, despite its environmental benefits, the presence of this space has cost the surrounding communities. Have studies shown that the increase in the proportion of green space in an area can lead to “rising property values, displacement of existing residents and a strong immigration of wealthy population groups”. Since the construction of the High Line, the value of living in the immediate vicinity has increased by 35.3%.
Many city dwellers have also questioned the practicability of essentially forcing these types of spaces into the urban cityscape. But it seems that the High Line worked well in parts there the supposed incongruence with the busy concrete jungle just a few meters below.
“The High Line functions as a strolling Manhattan mirror as well as a destination for itself.” writes the landscape architect and environmental scientist Brandon List. “This combination of contemporary city design and a unique visitor experience draws people with 5 million visitors annually to a neighborhood that was once better known for meat packaging than a world-class park.
So is there an ethical way to put this ethos into practice in urban settings? Practicing ecological landscaping on an individual level seems to be the answer. This would mean planting native, drought-resistant species, avoiding pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and backyard composting.
And with “wild” gardens better known Nowadays there may only be some hope for the future of sustainability in the way we maintain our green spaces.