Good landscaping isn’t about taking a plot of land and turfing it with mono-green grass as far as the eye can see. (That’s called a golf course.) Good landscaping is about listening to your environment and carefully crafting a relationship that allows you both to thrive.
For hundreds (if not thousands) of years, humans have been tempted to tame our environments… to control them and rid them of their perceived imperfections. But nature doesn’t really work that way—our need for over-control harms the health of both the ecosystem and humans in the long run. If you really want the most beautiful, lush landscape possible, you have to work with nature.
So, where to start? Here are a few factors to consider…
Your Yard Is More Than Just ‘Dirt’
If you ask us, dirt deserves more credit. The soil beneath our feet is responsible for nourishing all sorts of life. Beyond the plant life it sustains with water and precious minerals, plants then serve to sustain most other life on earth—from insects to rodents to grazing animals to humans.
Good soil plays a hugely important role in any ecosystem. It absorbs rainfall, mitigates flooding, cleans rainwater, provides valuable habitat for beneficial microbiota and earthworms, and even acts as a carbon sink. But, if abused, soil can get depleted.
Creating monocultures of grass, using pesticides, and over-grooming your yard can rob soil of its nutrients. That’s why it’s important to honor your dirt and all the living critters inside it. Consider yourself a ‘soil steward’ and adopt a few easy, organic landscaping techniques. (Composting, mulching, and smart grooming practices are just the start. Reach out to us to learn more!)
Plant Diversity Matters
Soil is just one piece of the puzzle. The next thing to consider is plant life. By avoiding pesticides and choosing native plants/pollinator-friendly flowers, you’re not only ensuring that your yard is beautiful, diverse, and full of life… you’re giving back to the environment by creating a clean, pesticide-free oasis for the insects and birds that make our ecosystem function. It’s a win-win. You can sit back, relax, and listen to the sweet chirping.
Don’t Try to Control Everything
Weeds. They are unavoidable. In a natural landscape, having a few weeds isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s encouraged. Having diverse plant species (even weeds) promotes a greater diversity of beneficial microorganisms and plays a huge role in improving soil health. Weeds also provide valuable nourishment to other flora and fauna in your ecosystem. For instance, birds and butterflies flourish when they have access to diverse foraging grounds.
So stop waging merciless weed wars every spring! Sometimes you just have to let go a bit and let your yard do its thing. It’s a lot better than trying to suppress unwanted plants with toxic pesticides. No matter how careful you are, spraying toxic chemicals leads to an unhealthy yard (and hurts your local ecosystem as a whole).
But don’t worry, you don’t have to tolerate a mess of overgrown weeds to have a healthy relationship with your yard. There are simply greener ways to reduce the growth of weeds than spraying harmful pesticides. Give us a call for support!
Be a Good Listener
Communication is the hallmark of any quality relationship. Features like boulders and trees, while potentially inconvenient to your grand plans, can actually make your landscape more beautiful. Consider how you can work with what your environment has to offer, not against it. (We can definitely help with that.)
Your outdoor space is ideally one of solace. It’s a place to escape from your busy day-to-day and reconnect with nature, even in the smallest way. Although any great landscape takes some effort, your yard should be more than a long and stressful list of to-dos. And that’s why we’re here.
At Nature Works Organic Land Care, we work hard to ensure that your relationship with your landscape is a loving one. Reach out to us for a consult or creative ideas about how to landscape while allowing your native environment to continue to thrive. We’re here to help!