If you find yourself asking ‘how can I make more eco-friendly landscaping choices,’ you’ve come to the right blog! Let Greenscape Geeks salute you for deciding to embrace better practices that keep your local environment healthy and sustainable. There are several starting tips we’ll discuss here in this blog, but they serve as more of a guideline. These can be built upon to fit any kind of low-maintenance, simple curb appeal, or city landscaping options and beyond. 

Contact a landscape architect with environmentally-grounded design principles

Finding a landscape architect whose principles align with your vision can be challenging. However, there are several environmental principles of design that can help narrow your search. An architect who will shape your eco-friendly landscape will seek sustainable solutions, embrace conservation for long term environmental health, and use native plant species during plantings. Sustainable solutions and conservation go hand-in-hand because one builds off the other. Native plant usage is the backbone that helps these structures flourish. At the end of the day, you should feel confident about the decisions you’ve made to be kind to your environment. We’re a company that understands your passion; Greenscape Geeks’ team of landscape professionals is geeky about it. Our methods for making eco-friendly landscaping choices are based on years of experience and knowledge of sustainable practices. Our eco-friendly approach is even reflected in our mission statement:
We provide our clients with beautiful, natural landscapes through the usage of native plants and sustainable ecological practices.

Narrow your focus and scope

If you feel overwhelmed at first or even if you have a million ideas in your head, we suggest coming up with a list of real, achievable goals. This will also give some guidance to our landscape architects when creating a custom plan for your needs. Additionally, this will prevent any feelings of defeat when you shoot for the stars but may be restricted in some way. As an example, plan ahead for available space, soil conditions, and water runoff. Some of the most effective ways to grow an eco-friendly landscape may seem like smaller details, but they contribute to the overall mechanics and look of your design. Companion plants, for instance, are often overlooked because of their specific growth needs. However, these details matter enough to pay huge dividends over time. Speaking of time and landscaping…

 Small and slow

Sowing seeds for prairie restoration, crafting a bioswale for a hillside landscape, and sapling plantings are all a terrific start by themselves. However, installing all three at once could prove to be a bit challenging for the environment to handle. Just like it took time for an unbalance to occur, it will take the same time (if not longer) to re-balance the landscape equation. Don’t worry, this is nature’s way of taking stock of the changes and reacting accordingly. Patience may seem in short supply, especially if you are anxious for an immediate transition to a sustainable property. Consider Principle #9 of permaculture design, which asks for small and slow ecological solutions. This is the start of building something truly unique and self-sustaining. In this way, you can feel confident about your progress at the same time as you learn about your new landscape!

Embrace “local” 

You hear the phrase “Support/Buy/Think Local” a lot these days, and for a good reason. It is more than just local economy marketing, it can easily be applied to ecologically-minded decision-making as well! As mentioned before, the usage of local plant species has been repeatedly proven to be the most effective way to support eco-friendly landscaping. Eco-friendly landscape architects will jump at the chance to build these local habitat havens for you. This, in turn, supports the surrounding ecology of an area. Make native plants your preferred choice and you’ll see how well they adapt in a local setting. Aside from choosing plants that will look good and take care of your yard, think about your immediate neighborhood. What kinds of eco-friendly landscaping choices do you want to make, and how could your friends be inspired to do the same? What have like-minded folks successfully done in their own backyards? Maybe you could join forces with your next-door-neighbors to create a two lot bird sanctuary if you have limited space. Perhaps you want to see or hear some chorus frog songs in the evening and are considering a garden pond to bring the critters in to nest. Perhaps you think your grass lawn could be put to better use as a raised bed area. Over time, you’ll be surprised to find passers-by asking about the blue jays in your newly planted trees, or the delicious-looking tomatoes and lettuce in your yard.

Stay informed and join an eco-friendly community

Making these decisions can be difficult or confusing, but it doesn’t have to be! There are lots of groups that are willing to lend their knowledge or assistance to help you achieve what you want. The result can be a community-formed, ecologically friendly space. Some of the ones Greenscape Geeks would recommend starting with would be a local Native Plants Society chapter, like Indiana’s Facebook group. If you aim to get your kids involved as well, there are lots of educational options to teach and challenge them to think green too! Other examples of community support include Sierra Club chapters, forest-preservation advocates, soil and water conservation districts, and phenology tracking. This link takes you to our podcast interview with Amanda Wanlass, the Indiana Phenology Director.
Hopefully, this outline gives you some guidance to start fostering a bustling ecology in your own backyard or your neighbors. Making eco-friendly landscaping choices will soon become habitual and you can become the force for change in your area. Look at your future self go! As always, comments are welcome and you can reach out to us with any further questions here.
Greenscape Geeks is a central Indiana landscape architecture and landscape design, construction, and lawn maintenance company, serving Indianapolis (including Meridian Kessler, Herron Morton, Williams Creek, and Irvington), Carmel, Noblesville, Fishers, and Zionsville.