Did you know that landscape and lawn irrigation consumes approximately 40% of the potable water produced in the United States?
Are you considering a major landscape project? Perhaps a lawn renovation? How can your project become greener? Think sustainability! Most people associate energy efficient with hybrid cars, geothermal energy to heat and cool our homes, high efficiency HVAC systems, alternative fuels, etc. These ideas are more commercialized by product manufacturers through advertisements. There are many ways to incorporate sustainable energy practices into out landscapes. Well planned landscaping can reduce energy usage, decrease potable water consumption, curb heat island effect, reduce night sky light pollution and save on utility bills.
Using Gray Water instead of Potable Water for Irrigation
Did you know that landscape and lawn irrigation consumes approximately 40% of the potable water produced in the United States? Many coastal municipalities are already banning the use of potable water for irrigation. These ordinances are forcing landscape companies to change their focus on irrigation practices to alternative methods such as gray water irrigation, xeriscaping and rain gardens.
Gray water distribution systems are already popular in arid climates. Gray water is water partially treated and redistributed by municipal water utilities or water that is diverted from the sewerage system and used for irrigation and in water closets for flushing toilets. We are likely to see similar ordinances pertaining to the use of potable water in our area in the near future.
Stricter Regulations on Fertilizer and Pesticides
There are new reports that the EPA is targeting fertilizers and considering stricter bans on pesticide and herbicide usage. These chemicals are a major source of pollution of our streams and water bodies. Fertilizers cause excessive algae bloom and aquatic weed growth, which depletes oxygen in our lakes and rivers and adversely affects aquatic habitat and stream ecosystems. These stricter fertilization and pesticide regulations will change the way we plan and manage out landscapes in the future.
Current landscape trends have evolved from today’s highly manicured gardens, which include tightly planted clipped hedges and lush green vistas of heavily fertili
zed lawns. These landscapes require full time gardens and landscape crews to maintain and thus are associated with wealth and affluence. This trend in the U.S., especially in the last decade, has caused an explosion of growth in the landscape industry. Lawn irrigation systems, once a luxury, are now a necessity to keep these lawns green and plants thriving. Fertilizer and pesticide usage is at an all time high and is necessary to maintain exotic plants, which have replaced native landscapes.
Take a Proactive Approach to Landscape Management
A revolution in landscaping is beginning and old thinking amongst the multi-billion dollar industry leaders will be forced to change and adapt. Today’s wasteful and harmful landscape practices will soon succumb to regulation and force a change in thinking about future landscaping strategies. And since landscapes evolve over long periods of time, implementing a proactive approach to landscape management sooner rather than later is a sensible decision.