Sustainable landscaping builds on the unique conditions of your yard to create a healthier and more ecologically friendly outdoor space. Sounds great, but how do you get started? Extension Master Gardener Amy Crumpton discusses how the principles of sustainability, together with an understanding of conservation techniques and ecological gardening methods, can inform your landscape design decisions and provide achievable structure to the management of your yard.
Zoom session, January 15, 2021
Video of Presentation
Handout of 2022 Presentation – New in 2022!
General, Soil, Water
- Landscape for Life Course Materials
- The Eight Essential Elements of Conservation Landscaping
- You and Your Land: A Guide for the Potomac Watershed
- Rain Garden Design and Construction
- Invasive Plants and Better Alternatives
- Non-Native Invasive ID and Control: A citizen’s guide to the non-native invasive plants that may be lurking in your backyard
- Chesapeake Bay Native Plant Center
- Native Plants for Northern Virginia
- Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed
- Tried and True Native Plants Selections for the Mid-Atlantic
Habitat for Wildlife
- Audubon at Home, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia
- For the Birds, Butterflies & Hummingbirds: Creating Inviting Habitats, VCE Pub HORT-59.
- Gardening for Pollinators, U.S. Forest Service.
- Certify Your Habitat, National Wildlife Federation.
Some Quick Tips
Siting trees and shrubs near house
- Large tree (50 ft>) – 20 ft from 1-story building
- Medium tree (25-50 ft) – 15 ft from building
- Small tree (15-25 ft) – 8 ft from building
- Shrubs: 2 ft tall plant 3 ft from wall; 3 ft tall plant 4-5 ft. Leave space for airflow, access.
- Apply to fence line, too. Neighbor allowed to cut/prune what grows over property line.
Siting a windbreak
- Locate windbreaks perpendicular to the prevailing winter winds.
- The ideal wind protection is provided at distances 2x to 5x the height of the windbreak (i.e., 40 ft tree should be 80 ft from house).
- Use multiple rows of vegetation to block wind at the ground level as well as higher elevations.
- Maximize the diversity of trees/shrubs to improve habitat and reduce the risk of disease and insect damage.
Considerations for pollinators and wildlife
- Most bird species forage and nest within 15 feet of ground level.
- 3 x 3 feet minimum mass of nectar plants to feed pollinators efficiently.
- Most native bees are ground nesting, leave a few bare soil spots.
- Leave fallen leaves and dried native perennial stalks for insects to overwinter. Push spring clean up into early April.