Sustainable Landscaping Basics

MGNV - Sustainable Landscaping LogoSustainable 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 will discuss 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

Additional Resources

General, Soil, Water


Invasive Plants

Native Plants

Habitat for Wildlife

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.