Another key to a highly successful green landscaping project is the use of recycled materials such as mulch, other soil amendments, and landscape construction materials. With high lumber costs and forest land in short supply, recycled materials provide both environmentally friendly and economically favorable options for sustainable landscaping. For instance, recycled plastic bender board never rots, it’s less costly than redwood, and it’s faster to install for decks and landscape edging. The same goes for recycled mulches—they’re inexpensive, easy to come by, and applying them will not require much of your time.
Recycled materials can be incorporated into the hardscape as well. The term hardscape refers to the stonework portion of a landscaping project, typically including flagstone paths and patios, and stone retaining walls. Broken-up concrete, which is widely available from construction sites and always free, can make an attractive substitute for flagstone, and many people also build retaining walls from this material. Recycled brick is another great option for creating beautiful paths and patios.
Using recycled materials in the hardscape ensures that the consumer is not inadvertently supporting environmental degradation by buying stone and rock trucked from far away places. Instead of using expensive lumber that risks damage to the environment, use one of the many recycled plastic products that can be substituted for decks and landscape edging. These recycled materials also last longer because they are not susceptible to rot, like wood, making them a highly attractive option for the hardscape.
Green landscaping offers the homeowner a chance to save money, time, and resources while establishing healthier plants and soil, and adding to the diverse ecosystems of the planet. The future of sustainable landscaping lies in our capacity to accurately mimic the processes of nature for maximum efficiency—not with short-term, quick-fix, chemical solutions that push our plants and poison our earth. Look for organic fertilizer for your plants and follow our tips for the cleanest and greenest landscape solutions.