Get The Lowdown On Sustainable Landscaping: 15 Essential Factors To Consider

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of house to buy, how big and in what neighborhood, but never considered the landscaping. Well, maybe that’s because it doesn’t seem like something we should have to think about. 

But there’s more to sustainable landscaping than just having a nice yard: It can help reduce pollution and save you money on utilities while making your home more comfortable.

Functional Considerations of Sustainable Landscape Design
Key Takeaways
– Sustainable landscaping involves designing, constructing, and maintaining outdoor spaces that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient.
– To create a sustainable landscape, consider factors such as soil health, water conservation, plant choice, and reducing waste.
– Sustainable landscaping is important for reducing harm to the environment, saving money, promoting biodiversity, and improving air and soil quality.
– Features of a sustainable landscape can include using native plants, reducing turf and lawn areas, watering wisely, and utilizing permeable surfaces.
– To reduce water usage in your landscape, consider using drip irrigation, collecting rainfall, and selecting drought-tolerant plants adapted to your climate.

Use a Mulch of Native Materials

When thinking about sustainability in landscaping, it is important to consider the use of native materials. 

Native plants are likely to be more resistant to disease and pests, and they are more likely to grow well in your climate. They will also provide an attractive appearance that works with your garden’s existing style.

Native materials can also be used for erosion control, helping soil retain moisture, minimizing runoff during rainstorms or snowmelt events (which can cause pollution). 

In addition, using native plants will help prevent invasive species from spreading into areas where they do not belong.

To create a sustainable landscape, it’s important to know the best practices. From water conservation to planting native species, The Top 15 Sustainable Landscaping Practices You Need to Know About is a great resource for learning how to care for your outdoor space while reducing your ecological footprint.

Design Your Space for Efficiency

Design your landscape to use the sun’s light.

The first thing you should do when designing your space is figure out how to make the most of natural sunlight. Sunlight provides heat and growing energy to plants, so if you design your garden with this in mind, it will be more efficient and cost-effective.

One way to maximize sunlight is by choosing plants that thrive in full sun or partial shade plants that grow well in full sun won’t need any additional water or fertilizer as long as they get enough direct exposure from morning until evening, while those that prefer part shade will need some direct sunlight but not too much heat from midday on (because they don’t like being baked). 

You can also try combining certain types together in one area—for example:

Water-loving evergreens planted around a sunny border would provide plenty of shade while still getting enough light; 

2) ​​Bamboo can be planted strategically near large trees because it grows quickly and casts dense shade without preventing other plant growth; 

3) ​​There are many varieties of succulent plants that thrive on neglect (lemon balm), don’t mind being partially submerged underwater (crown imperial), live off rainwater instead!

Sustainable landscaping not only benefits the environment, but also your home and community. Discover the Benefits of Sustainable Landscaping for Your Home and Community to learn how it can improve air and water quality, reduce energy costs, and increase property value.

Use Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation is a form of micro irrigation that takes water from a main line and distributes it directly to each plant. 

The system uses a network of tiny tubes and emitters placed at the root zone of plants, as opposed to sprinklers that spray water in all directions or hand-watering where people walk back and forth with a hose to manually water plants.

Drip irrigation can save you up to 70% more water than traditional methods—and that’s important since we don’t have enough fresh water available for our current needs (let alone future growth). 

It also improves soil moisture by allowing plants to absorb moisture directly into their roots, which means less runoff into storm drains or oceans during wet weather events. 

And since drip systems deliver smaller amounts of water at regular intervals throughout the day, they don’t create runoff like traditional methods either!

Comparison of Drip Irrigation Systems

FeatureNetafim Drip IrrigationRain Bird Drip IrrigationDIG Drip Irrigation
Water Efficiency90-95%Up to 90%Up to 90%
Brand rating4.5 stars4 stars3.5 stars
Cost$0.15-$0.25 per foot$0.13-$0.20 per foot$0.10-$0.18 per foot
Durability20+ years15-20 years5-7 years
ApplicationBest for slopes, large areas, and landscapes with irregular shapesSuitable for a wide range of landscapes, plants, and soil typesRecommended for smaller gardens or raised beds

Note: Prices are approximate and may vary depending on location and installation complexity.

  • Drip irrigation is a water-efficient system that delivers moisture to the plant roots slowly and directly, reducing evaporation and water waste.
  • Netafim drip irrigation is a highly rated system known for its water efficiency, durability, and suitability for landscapes with irregular shapes.
  • Rain Bird drip irrigation is a good choice for a wide range of landscapes, plants, and soil types.
  • DIG drip irrigation is a cost-effective option for smaller gardens or raised beds but may require more maintenance.

Capture and Store Rainwater

One of the most obvious ways you can use rainwater is for irrigation. Rainwater is soft, so it doesn’t need to be treated before using it on plants and vegetable gardens (it’s best not to use this water for washing cars). 

If you have an established garden or lawn, you’ll want to install a sprinkler system that’s connected directly to your gutters or downspouts. 

This will provide even watering throughout the day and help keep your lawn healthy and beautiful!

Another great way to utilize rainwater is by installing a rain barrel near your home. Rain barrels are simple containers that collect excess rainfall from downspouts and then store it for later use in your yard or garden. 

Creating a green outdoor space doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Sustainable Landscaping 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Green Outdoor Space provides a simple and practical approach to designing, planting, and maintaining an eco-friendly garden.

Choose Plants Wisely

When it comes to choosing plants, there are a lot of factors to consider. You’ll want your garden or landscaping project to be sustainable, but you also want it to look good and be easy on the environment. You don’t have time for endless hours of maintenance and expensive fertilizer bills!

One way you can achieve this is by selecting the right plants for your climate and soil type. There are many resources online that provide information about specific plant varieties based on their sun exposure, water requirements, and other factors including data from local nurseries who know which plants thrive in your area. 

Be sure not only to choose plants that grow well in your climate zone (check out this map for tips), but also those native to where you live so they’re already adapted to local conditions. 

Also keep an eye out for low-maintenance options even if they cost more initially compared with generic varieties like grasses or annuals (which require more work).

Grow Your Own Food

While growing your own food is a great way to help the environment, it’s also an opportunity for you to create a new and exciting hobby that will have lasting benefits.

Gardening can be done anywhere and on any budget. You should consider what types of plants you want to grow for example, which fruits, vegetables or herbs are best suited for your climate? You may want to start small and build up from there. 

If you want to start with something easy like tomatoes then go ahead! Just make sure that whatever type of gardening you choose is one which suits your lifestyle.

Sustainable landscaping is not just a trend, but the future of gardening. Learn how to incorporate environmentally conscious practices in your outdoor space with Why Sustainable Landscaping is the Future of Gardening (and How to Get Started). Discover the benefits of using native plants, reducing water usage, and composting to create a more sustainable landscape.

Utilize A Compost System

Composting is a great way to reduce waste, as it allows us to reuse and recycle organic materials. There are many ways to compost from a simple bin in your backyard, to an elaborate system of tubes that can be placed indoors. 

It’s important to choose the right method for you: if you’re just starting out or live in an apartment building where space is limited (or both), then an indoor composter will likely work best for your lifestyle needs. 

On the other hand, if you have lots of room outside and are looking for something convenient that won’t require maintenance beyond occasionally mixing up the contents once in awhile then using a pile may be more suitable for you.

Compost Systems Comparison

Compost SystemCostCompost ProductionIdeal ForPros
tumbler$70-$4002-3 monthssmall spaces, new compostersfaster decomposition, pest-resistant
worm bin$80-$4002-3 monthsindoor composting, small spacesproduces nutrient-rich compost, easy to manage
compost pileFree-$1006-12 monthslarger yards, experienced composterslow cost, versatile
in-ground$150-$3006-12 monthslarge yards, experienced composterslow maintenance, promotes soil health

Note: Costs and production times are estimates based on average systems. Ideal for is based on recommendations from experienced composters.

Utilize A Compost System

Implementing a compost system is a sustainable way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich compost for your garden. Consider the type of compost system that fits your space and lifestyle, as well as the cost and production time of each system.

Plant a Windbreak or Privacy Screen

Whether you’re looking to reduce noise and wind, or just need a way to make your yard seem more private, a windbreak or privacy screen is an excellent choice. 

A windbreak can help control temperature in the home by deflecting cool winds off of it during the winter months and blocking hot sun during the summer. It also reduces erosion on slopes and around lakes by protecting against high winds. 

By planting trees as part of a privacy screen, you can provide shade from direct sunlight while keeping any unwanted views out of sight behind them!

Go Solar

Another way to reduce the carbon footprint of your home is to install solar panels. These are a great option for households that have access to sunlight, allowing you to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels. 

Solar panels can be installed on your roof or elsewhere on your property, and they can power many different things—including your home and electric car!

Potential Solar Panel Providers

Solar ProviderCost/kWEstimated Savings/yrAverage Payback Period
SunPower$3.50-$4.50$1,500-$1,8006-7 years
Tesla$2.01-$2.51$1,500-$1,8006-8 years
LG Solar$2.50-$3.50$1,400-$1,6006-9 years
Sunrun$2.50-$3.50$1,200-$1,5007-8 years
Vivint Solar$3.00-$4.00$1,000-$1,2007-8 years

Note: Costs and savings are estimates based on a 5kW solar panel installation.

Go Solar

One way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on energy bills is to install solar panels on your home. Consider the costs and potential savings of various solar providers before choosing a solar panel installation that best fits your needs.

Reduce Pesticide Usage

Reduce Pesticide Usage

Organic Methods: You can use a variety of organic methods to control pests. For example, you can plant flowers or fruit trees that are naturally resistant to pests.

Plants with a Short Growing Season: Some plants grow very fast and have a short growing season, so if you want your garden to produce fruits without pesticides, these would be an excellent choice.

Plants Native To Your Climate: There are many types of plants that grow well in different climates throughout the world; choosing one that’s native to yours will make it easier for them to adapt and thrive in your garden environment.

Long Blooming Periods: Flowers that bloom longer are preferred because they give off more pollen than others do which attracts more bees who pollinate nearby plants as they fly around looking for food sources themselves! That means less pest pressure on other areas near their home base (your yard).

Sustainable landscaping not only helps the planet, but it can also save you money in the long run. Check out 10 Surprising Tips for Sustainable Landscaping That Will Save You Money and the Planet to learn how to design a low-maintenance garden, use recycled and repurposed materials, and reduce water consumption to reduce costs and create a more eco-friendly outdoor space.

Avoid Unnecessary Landscaping

Avoid using unnecessary landscaping. This is a subtle point, but it’s important: you should never over-sculpt your yard. You should avoid installing things like water features and ponds that can be very expensive to maintain. These might be great for aesthetics, but they’re also heavy users of resources and will increase your monthly costs long term.

Use native plants instead of non-native ones if possible. Native plants are already adapted to the climate where you live, so they require less water and fertilizer than those that aren’t native to your area (and may even have pests that attack them). They’ll tend to grow better in their natural state as well; this means less maintenance!

Choose Efficient Products and Appliances

Choosing these products and appliances is a great way to limit your impact on the environment. They’re also more efficient, so they’re cheaper to operate in the long run.

Choose efficient products and appliances: You can find out if what you want is energy star rated by looking at their packaging or online reviews. 

If a product has an Energy Star label, it’s been tested for energy efficiency and meets strict guidelines set by the Department of Energy (DOE). This means that it uses less electricity than standard models, which will save you money on your electric bill over time.

The importance of choosing efficient products and appliances: When people use less electricity from power plants, there’s less pollution from coal-fired plants which means cleaner air! 

By using less energy overall, we can also reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports while helping protect our natural resources like forests and oceans that provide us with fresh water supply too! 

This benefits everyone because clean air makes us healthier by preventing chronic diseases like asthma attacks while reducing pollution levels below safe limits reduces health risks posed by breathing dirty air like lung cancer which causes premature death rates among adults who smoke cigarettes regularly over time.

Product/ApplianceEnergy Efficient RatingEstimated Savings
LED light bulbsEnergy Star$75 per year
Smart ThermostatNestUp to $180 per year
Low-Flow ShowerheadWaterSenseUp to $145 per year
Energy-Efficient RefrigeratorEnergy Star$270 over 5 years
Front-Loading Washing MachineEnergy Star$45 per year


In conclusion, I hope that this blog post has helped you learn more about sustainable landscaping. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comment section below!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to learn more about sustainable landscape design:

10 Things to Consider for a Sustainable Landscape Design: Houzz provides a comprehensive list of factors to consider when designing a sustainable landscape, including soil health, water conservation, and plant choice.

5 Considerations for Sustainable Landscape Design: The University of Minnesota Extension discusses the importance of sustainable landscaping and provides tips on how to design a functional and eco-friendly outdoor space.

Landscaping: The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery provides resources on how to create a sustainable landscape, including composting, mulching, and using drought-tolerant plants.


What is sustainable landscaping?

Sustainable landscaping is the practice of designing, constructing, and maintaining outdoor spaces that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient. It involves reducing water usage, using native plants, composting, and reducing waste.

Why is sustainable landscaping important?

Sustainable landscaping is important because it reduces the harm done to the environment, conserves natural resources, and saves money. It also promotes biodiversity, supports local ecosystems, and improves air and soil quality.

What are some features of a sustainable landscape?

Features of a sustainable landscape include using native plants, reducing turf and lawn areas, utilizing permeable surfaces, watering wisely, and using compost and mulch.

What are the benefits of using native plants in sustainable landscaping?

Using native plants helps to promote local ecosystems, reduce water usage, and improve soil health. Native plants are adapted to the local environment and require less maintenance.

How can I reduce water usage in my landscape?

To reduce water usage in your landscape, you can use drip irrigation, collect rainfall, use mulch and compost to retain moisture, and select drought-tolerant plants. You can also reduce lawn areas and use plants adapted to your local climate.