Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sustainable Garden Design : Cristina de Silva

Guest Post by Cristina da Silva / The Real Gardener
#gardenchat June 25, 2012 Guest Host
Sustainable Garden Design

“Sustainability: to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of
future generations to meet their own needs. “
World Commission on Environment and Development (1989)

What makes a garden sustainable is a complex issue. It takes time, thought and
analysis. But it’s not impossible. Whether it is a new garden or a garden renovation,
the best way to create a sustainable garden is through the design process.

Before we plunge into nitty gritty of sustainable garden design, we need to know
what “sustainable garden design” means.

A good definition for our use comes from the Norman Booth and James Hiss’ Fifth
Edition Residential Landscape Architecture. To paraphrase:

A “sustainable garden design” is a process of creating a durable self-
perpetuating garden with minimal expense of energy and maintenance.

And it is also a garden that not only suits the climate and terrain (with
minimal impact on the land) but it also supports the health of all living
creatures within the site.

But how do we know if our current gardens are sustainable or not before we plunge
ourselves into the garden design melee?

For gardeners sustainability in the garden is measured by:
  • How efficiently we use earth’s resources (i.e. hardscape materials & plants
    choices, repurposing, recycling)

    Whether our use is part of resources’ natural cycle and allows them to be
    replenished (think compost)
  • How much waste is created (grass clippings, pruned material, plastic pots,
    use of fossil fuels & pesticides etc)
  • Now, if your current garden doesn’t meet these criteria, take heart. We are going to
  • cover step by step the different factors involved in creating a sustainable garden.

How do we accomplish this?
The garden site should:
  •  Fit the regional context
  • Have minimal site impact
  • Restore damaged sites
  • Coordinate with natural events and cycles (sun, wind, rain, earthquakes, fir etc)
  • Reuse and recycle
  • Create a healthy environment

Hopefully I will be able to cover all the material in an hour. Regardless of what
happens, at least we are having a dialogue in creating better gardens for our planet.

Join us Monday and please check out Cristina online at :

Twitter: CristinaGardens

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