Organic Landscape Design

Photo by Laura Leavell

Photo by Laura Leavell

These days many people are taking the organic route by trying to do seemingly everything as earth friendly and natural as possible. Organic Landscaping is coming back. Fifty years ago it was a necessary practice but with the development of pesticides and fertilizers, using organic methods for landscaping became unpopular. No matter what your personal political views are on the rise of organic use in our country, it’s hard to deny that organic landscaping has several benefits. Fewer chemicals in the yard where the kids play is one that caters to me as a health conscious mom. Plus, organic landscaping can be less expensive than inorganic landscaping. You’re not buying chemicals since the big push in organic landscaping is to use elements of the natural world around you for fertilizers, pest control, and general softscape upkeep.

Sometimes the word “Organic” scares me. I see big dollar signs and complicated methods, but with landscaping it is simply a return to the old ways. Use the natural elements of your area to design and promote your landscape. Here are some ways to make your own property organic.

For The Lawn
Purchase organic fertilizer for your lawn. The initial cost is more, but over time it requires less application which means less expense.
Practice aeration in your yard. Punching little holes all over the yard is better for grass root growth and will allow friendly bugs like earthworms to move more freely.
Try top dressing. Create a mixture of half composted material and half sand to spread thinly over your lawn. This is good for lawn rooting and will yield hardier grass.
Over seeding is the use of more grass seed for your lawn than you need. Use 1 ½ times more grass seed to allow quicker germination, thicker grass, and natural weed control.

For The Plants
Make use of native plants. Exotic plants require more time and attention and chemicals to thrive.
Keep soil healthy like nature does by keeping it covered. Use mulch or aground cover plant to keep moisture and nutrients where they should be.
Grow plants in conditions as near to their natural habitat as possible. Don’t put plants that love the shade in the sunny spot of your yard.
Grow a “monoculture”. A monoculture is a wide range of plants grown close together instead of a just one plant. This is a natural practice. Trying to grow one single type of plant can require chemicals to flourish. You don’t see wild roses growing in straight lines and beds by themselves out in nature. They are surrounded by other plants and work together to be healthy.
Practice natural pest control. Allow plants that harbor friendly insect predators like the ladybug to grow in your landscaping. This will reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides to keep your plants looking great.

I enjoy a great looking landscape. I’m discovering that a great looking landscape doesn’t always require the use of potentially unhealthy chemicals. Organic landscaping will give you beauty and peace of mind by using natural practices and materials for landscape upkeep and design. Let me know if you’ve had success “going green” with your landscaping!

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