Creating ecologically sustainable landscape gardens here in Colorado is exceedingly important to Paul and I; along with developing a business model that reflects those same values. We recognize a changing world around us and our eagerness to be a part of something larger than ourselves and our work is crucial. The Ecologically Sustainable (ES) model is inherently a more holistic approach to living on this planet. I truly believe that the values that guide a greater ecological awareness permeate all aspects of life and should guide the choices we make. One constant that occurs throughout our discussion on what ES means to us is that of the essential role of communities, and the interplay of the relationships that govern our lives. Keeping this notion of relationship at the forefront of the conversation, I am going to focus the discussion on two relevant branches: ‘Doing business the ecologically sustainable way’ and ‘Ecologically sustainable landscape design’.
Doing Business The Ecologically Sustainable Way
An ecologically sustainable business model has always been a core value for the operation of our landscape company. What that means to us right now is that we: participate in honest and caring relationships with our community, engage in efficient and conscientious utilization of our resources, and essentially place ecological and ethical values above pecuniary values.
In order to participate in honest and caring relationships with the community, we have made the decision to shop almost exclusively at locally owned businesses. Keeping it local promotes wealth not only economically, but also builds strong community ties through the interweaving of rich and diverse relationships. An inseparable piece of this frame of mind is our dedication to paying fair and livable wages as well as asking a fair price for our services. It is not difficult to see the richness that can occur when we share ourselves and our wealth. In this way we deepen our commitment to the vitality of our community.
We see this planet and its abundance of resources not as our domain to exploit, but as a complex web of relationships to honor and care for. We know that we’re making decisions daily that can minimize our strain on the planet’s natural resources. Cutting down on fossil fuels and petroleum based products is just one commitment we have made.
Recognizing that we have a lot of potential to improve our efforts towards sustainable business operations, Paul is currently auditing our company for ES. We truly want to be able to asses ourselves and take responsibility for making our future on this planet brighter for everyone. Through the process of research, self-assessment, and innovation our goal is to be a leader in this area. We hope that you will join us by offering your support and challenging us as we take it to the next level.
Ecologically Sustainable Landscape Design
As a garden designer and plant enthusiast it is thrilling to be running a professional landscape gardening business during this time of ES innovation and transformation. Ecologically sustainable garden designs are: landscapes that fit graciously into their surrounding environment, are untaxing on the earth’s resources, grow abundantly with a minimum of care once established, and help to preserve plant diversity as well as the integrity and stability of the natural community.
Perhaps the activity with the broadest impact while caring for landscapes here in the Inner-Mountain West is the conscientious use of water. We’ve used way too much water in the past. According to NOAA, Boulder, CO has historically received an average of 20.7 inches of precipitation yearly. In 2012 we received 15.65 inches. Climate scientists and NOAA predict that we can expect drought to continue into the foreseeable future. The average Boulder lawn consisting of grasses like Kentucky Blue Grass need about 56 inches a year to stay healthy and green. Our goal moving forward is to design landscape gardens that when fully established remain attractive with just 1 inch of water, (rain or irrigation) every two weeks during the hottest part of peak growing season. I believe it is our responsibility to cut down on our use of irrigation water in landscaping; conserving it’s use for a more reasonable purpose, such as local food grown by our community of incredibly dedicated farmers.
We’re taking the gardener’s often quoted mantra “right plant, right place” all the way. A landscape that takes into account and adapts its plant choices and landscape features to the prevailing climate and its immediate environment should: take less effort to maintain, will be better equipped to provide habitat for local wildlife, transition more smoothly into regional landscape networks, and bounce back to a greater degree after predictable disturbances such as drought, fire, and heavy wind or hail storms.
With all this emphasis on ES solutions it is easy to loose sight of the invaluable and distinctive human quality which desires to create and preserve beauty in the surrounding environment. Gardens have always been a place to find relaxation, deep clarity, and a catalyst for opening up to ones innermost dreams. Along with the major import of preserving plant diversity, preserving our heritage of excellent design and the human idea of beauty is indispensable to me. The great news is we can enjoy fulfilling, lush, and stylistic gardens, whether traditional or modern and adhere to the ES principles discussed. Paul and I are excited to share and accomplish this work! We have found an abundance of information and a great number of dedicated individuals available in support of our growing commitment to this dream. We are looking forward to walking this path together with you.