Whether small residential project or large commercial landscaping project, if done properly, you can save money, time, and help the environment. GreenScaping encompasses a set of landscaping practices that can improve the health and appearance of valuable property while protecting and preserving natural resources. Greenscaping embraces the 4- R’s . . .
- Select low maintenance/slow growing plants and grasses.
- Reduce or eliminate plastic silt fencing and substitute with blankets, berms, and filtersocks made of compost for erosion control.
- Switch from pressure-treated wood to plastic lumber for decks, benches, and signs.
- Return wooden pallets and other shipping materials to your supplier whenever possible.
- When replacing an existing hardscape or structure, deconstruct, reuse and recycle all possible materials such as metal, wood, shingles, concrete, and pavement.
- Minimize site and soil disruptions to the maximum extent possible.
- Cluster structures to maximize open space.
- Minimize turf grass and paved areas - keep as much natural area as possible.
- Conserve water through xeriscaping (landscaping and gardening in a way that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation).
- Incorporate compost into the soil to help improve water absorption and retention.
- Top-dress your turf with compost.
- Reduce non-permeable hardscape wherever possible.
- Place mulch over a plant's root zone to reduce moisture evaporation and conserve water.
- Install drip irrigation systems.
- Install composting toilets in remote locations to reduce water and servicing requirements.
- Clean equipment with compressed air whenever possible. Grass clippings and debris should be collected and composted.
- Strategically plant vegetation outside and around buildings to reduce indoor heating and cooling needs.
- Use hand or electric equipment where ever feasible to reduce emissions.
- Use biobased fuels and lubricants in place of petroleum.
- Implement scheduled equipment maintenance program for increased efficiency & reduced emissions.
Fertilizers and Pesticides
- Use compost as a soil amendment to help reduce the need for chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
- Incorporate native plants in your landscape— they generally require less fertilizers and pesticides.
- Implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.
- Spot treat whenever possible.
- Set mower blades higher to fight weeds and diseases without pesticides.
- Grasscycle—leave grass clippings in place (don't bag) when mowing.
- Produce less green waste by limiting fertilizer and water use.
- Use mulch around trees and in flowering beds as weed prevention.
- Purchase only what you need and can use for a specific treatment.
- Return unused excess product to supplier if possible.
- If you cannot return excess product, contact your local solid waste agency and your state pesticide disposal program to determine if a waste or pesticide program now commonly called "Clean Sweep" is available. These efforts by state and local governments typically focus on agricultural pesticides, but may also include other pesticides used by homeowners, golf courses, and highway departments.
- Take apart nonreturnable wood pallets to reuse the wood (e.g., edging around plant beds) or chip it for use on site for mulch.
- Chip woody waste and tree clippings into mulch for use on-site.
- Donate healthy plants to local nonprofit organizations when reconfiguring or removing trees and shrubs from your landscape.
- Reuse or increase the use and efficiency of existing sites before cutting into new sites.
- Reuse soils within the work site; create mounds or berms to serve as wind breaks or to add visual interest.
- Use gray water, reclaimed water, or collected rainwater for irrigation and equipment wash downs.
- Recycle bedding trays and plant containers from annuals and other greenery
- Triple rinse and recycle plastic commercial containers.
- Recycle used oil and tires from your vehicles and equipment.
- Provide recycling receptacles next to trash receptacles.
- Send green waste and food waste that cannot be composted on site to a local composting facility.
- Reclaim land - turn waste land into usable property and a valuable asset.
- Recycle gray water for irrigation and equipment wash downs.
- Select plastic lumber made from recycled bottles and bags for benches and other outdoor structures.
- Incorporate rubberized asphalt (made from recycled tires) for parking lots, walking, running, bike, or cart paths.
- Purchase patio blocks and lawn edging containing recovered plastic or postconsumer rubber.
- Amend soils and turf with high quality compost.
- Use recycled glass for golf course bunker sand, beach sand, or filter media.
- Specify high performance concrete, which can contain fly ash and/or other recycled materials to double the life of conventional pavement, wall, and bridge applications.
- Restructure waste disposal contracts to pay only for waste actually disposed - weight-based versus fixed rate; if a weight-based rate is not possible and your dumpster is only half-full each time -- switch to less frequent pickups.
- Install composting toilets in remote locations such as parks and golf courses to save on waste disposal costs.
- Buy hoses, tubing, trickle irrigation systems made from recovered plastic and old tires.
- Use bio-based cleaners and solvents for equipment.
- Purchase and incorporate plants that require minimal or no supplemental watering.
Additional information on GreenScaping
can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website at . . .
This site details how best to apply these principles for projects of every scale . . .
from residential to commercial.