Sustainable Landscape Maintenance Sustainable Landscape Maintenance

The whole idea behind sustainable landscape maintenance is that it will become automatic. Eventually the use of resources will be balanced out by the acquisition of more resources.

Irrigation

The most vital aspect of any landscaping is the proper use and retention of water. Irrigation should be a simple controlled drip-method process rather than a wasteful spray. Dripped irrigation puts the water where it is needed and cuts out the time available for wind and sun to cause too much evaporation.

Grey Water

If possible, homes in the area should be fitted with settlement tanks or septic tanks to enable the use of grey water for irrigation. Setting up septic tanks that will automatically deliver the grey water to a drain field will enable the return of the water to the general environment where it will be broken down naturally by the actions of microbes in the soil.

Drainage

It is very important that any rainfall is gathered rather than be allowed to simply run off the land. If possible, the land should be graded so run-off does not gather too much momentum and carry away quantities of top soil. Steep grades should be terraced so surface water is required to follow the terraces and provide a longer period for it to be in contact with the area and soak into the ground. Drainage routes should be kept clear and any damage that could interfere with the proper flow should be repaired as quickly as possible.

Crops

As much as possible, the crops grown should be produced from healthy local stock. The propagation of new plants should be from harvested seeds which will have an built-in resistance to local pests and diseases. Daily inspections of growing crops will ensure that any problems will be spotted early enough to be dealt with rapidly.

Fertilizers

When an area has been harvested, a topical application of fertilizer or compost should be worked into the soil. This will help replace nutrients removed by the crop and help recondition the top soil by improving drainage and ventilation. Fertilizers should be produced locally using composting bins and worm farms. All waste vegetable matter should be composted. When worm farms are used and the top soil is in a reasonable condition worms bred in the farms can be introduced into the soil to help continue sustainable landscape construction.

General Maintenance

Much waste can be avoided by a simple maintenance routine. Timers on irrigation systems should always be set to deliver during the cool part of the day--preferably early in the morning before the sun has had time to heat the soil. Any sluice gates in the drainage and irrigation system should be checked to keep them in good order so they will control surface flow of water. Any machinery and pipes that affect the movement of water should be checked for leaks.

In general the maintenance of a sustainable landscape comes down to good husbandry and routine. If each area is inspected frequently enough, small changes can make huge savings.

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