landscape

The Future of Sustainable Landscaping: What To Know for Your Commercial Business

Businesses everywhere are becoming more and more conscious of their impact on the environment. As understanding of climate change and the relationship between human activity and our planet grows, the drive for sustainable practices becomes ever more pressing.

For commercial businesses, sustainability is likely to be at the forefront of any kind of landscaping project. Fortunately, environmentally friendly and sustainable landscaping need not be complicated.

Understanding the Goals of Sustainable Landscaping

There are numerous ways to make your commercial landscaping project more sustainable. But first, it is important to understand what we mean by “sustainable landscaping.” There are six core tenets to sustainable landscaping that you will need to be aware of.

Reducing Energy Usage

Conserving energy is one of the most crucial aspects of becoming more environmentally sustainable. Reducing energy usage helps to preserve finite resources, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce pollution in our towns and cities.

Reducing energy usage can also help to save on the overall cost of creating and maintaining your commercial landscaping projects, particularly in the context of rising energy prices.

Reducing Pesticide Use

Pesticides often contain harsh and harmful chemicals that can damage human health, wildlife, and the environment. Prolonged exposure to some of these chemicals has been linked to serious health problems. They can also harm beneficial organisms such as bees, butterflies, birds, and fish as well as contaminate our soil, waterways, and food sources.

By reducing pesticides, we can safeguard human health, protect wildlife, and increase environmental sustainability.

landcaper-riding-industrial-lawn-mower-smiling

Reducing Emissions

The burning of fossil fuels is one of the greatest threats to the environment today. These fuels release large amounts of greenhouse gases, which lead directly to climate change, habitat destruction, and pollution.

Wherever possible, it is vital to reduce fossil fuel usage and switch to more sustainable alternatives such as electricity generated from wind, solar, and water.

Reducing emissions also extends to considering the ways that work is carried out. For example, at Cambridge, we aim to have our crews travel to sites together and utilize public transportation wherever possible to minimize our carbon footprint.

Reducing the Spread of Invasive Species

Invasive plant species such as bamboo can cause serious damage to a garden and the environment. These hardy and rapidly growing plants can outcompete other plants for resources such as water, overwhelm a space, colonize surrounding landscapes, and cause significant ecological damage.

Increasing Water Conservation

Water is one of our most essential and precious resources, vital for all life on Earth. As global temperatures rise, water scarcity and droughts are becoming increasingly commonplace realities.

Landscaping can be tremendously water-intensive. This can place additional strain on local water systems as well as harm the ecosystem. Therefore, it is essential to utilize water conservation methods such as water-efficient irrigation and plants that do not require excessive amounts of water to thrive.

Increasing Soil Conservation

Soil conservation is closely linked to water conservation and involves making use of soil resources in the most efficient and effective way. Protecting the health of our soil is vital to the long-term sustainability of landscaping projects. In the most ideal world, a soil ecosystem would be self-sustaining and not require any supplementation.

Reducing water runoff is one of the most vital components of both soil conservation and water conservation in commercial landscaping. As well as wasting water, runoff can take nutrients out of the soil, increasing the need to supplement with fertilizers. It can also carry pollutants into bodies of water and cause contamination.

How To Achieve Sustainable Landscaping for Your Business

Now that you understand the importance of sustainable landscaping and what it looks like, how can you actually achieve it? In this section, we will share six strategies that commercial businesses can use to ensure that their landscaping projects are as sustainable as possible.

Use Low-Maintenance Plants

Low-maintenance plants are those that require minimal care such as watering, fertilization, or pruning in order to thrive. These plants are more sustainable and environmentally friendly than their higher-maintenance counterparts for several reasons.

Low-maintenance plants use less water and require little to no supplemental fertilizers and pesticides. They also require less time, energy, and tools to maintain, helping to conserve resources.

Use Native Plants

When we are selecting plants for a client’s landscaping project, we prioritize those that are best suited to the local environment. This is because when plants are in their natural environment, they are more likely to thrive without a lot of additional resource-intensive support.

Native plants are those that have evolved to grow and live in particular conditions, adapting to the local climate, soil, wildlife, and overall ecosystem.

Choosing native plants immediately makes your landscaping project far more sustainable. They will require less supplemental water or fertilizer, support local biodiversity, be more resilient, and play a role in maintaining soil health.

Use Pollinator Plants

Pollinator plants are species that produce nectar or pollen and attract insects, birds, butterflies, and other pollinating creatures. These animals play a crucial role in the health and vitality of an overall ecosystem by facilitating the reproduction of numerous flowering plants, including many food crops.

Pollination also contributes to clean air, the production of breathable oxygen, and the health of our water and soil.

A few examples of our favorite pollinator plants:

  • Wild blue phlox
  • Blazing star
  • Purple coneflower
  • Perennial sunflower
  • Goldenrod
  • Black-eyed Susan

Go Chemical Free and Organic

As we have mentioned, chemical pesticides can be tremendously harmful to humans, animals, and the environment. Wherever possible, switching to chemical-free and organic alternatives will dramatically increase the sustainability credentials of your landscaping.

At Cambridge, we try to minimize pesticides and approach our landscaping using organic solutions. Organic pesticides are not always as effective and efficient as their chemical counterparts, meaning that this approach can require more physical labor. However, we consider this to be a worthwhile compromise to limit the amounts of harmful pesticides in our environment.

Go Electric Wherever Possible

Electric machinery is far less harmful to the environment than alternatives powered by fossil fuels such as petrol. At Cambridge, we have a large supply of electrical machinery and we restrict use of nonelectrical tools to instances where it is absolutely essential or there is no reasonable alternative.

Compost

Composting is a method of decomposing organic matter such as food scraps and garden waste to turn it into a usable fertilizer. Compost is nutrient rich and helps to improve the health of soil. It is also environmentally friendly as it reduces waste.

Composting is a great way to support the overall health of your garden or landscaping in an environmentally friendly manner. Why not get your entire team involved in composting?

Get Started With Your Sustainable Commercial Landscaping Project 

At Cambridge, we are committed to bringing color, vibrance, and beauty to every space we work on. We are also committed to sustainable practices, meaning that you can be assured that your landscaping project will be kind to the planet.

Since 2001, we have worked with a wide array of businesses and commercial organizations across New York City and the surrounding area.

If you are looking for some inspiration, check out our portfolio. And if you would like some advice or a quotation, or are ready to get started, please contact us.

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