Tranquill Gardens

Why a Sustainable Landscape?
Sustainable Landscaping is a well designed landscape package. We use plant material that will thrive under your site specific conditions, without too much maintenance, water or chemical input. The plants selected should not depend on additional watering or require excessive pruning and fertilizers. We also incorporate impervious surfaces for hardscape by recycling concrete, nutshells and other pre-used materials. This will minimize the impact on the environment, as well as on your maintenance budget.

Right Plant, Right Place
I am especially careful with plant choice and placement, for both exposure and size considerations. Planting too close to a structure will create a constant maintenance requirement, and so will plants that are installed too close to each other.

For example, planting a Viburnum hedge under a window will not work. These plants can reach 18 to 25 feet, if left alone. So trying to keep them under 3 feet will have a very negative impact on the plant, along with a constant maintenance requirement, which will result in a high maintenance budget and increased plant health issues.

Choosing the right plant for the specific area eliminates these problems. Your garden will enjoy better health, and have less impact on the environment.

Leaving trees and shrubs in their natural forms reduces stress to the plants and, therefore, lessens their need for water. Keeping weeds, insects, and diseases under control reduces the competition and stress to plants that increase their water demands.

Soil is Alive!
I examine soil conditions before plant material is considered. Lack of organic matter results in a low water retention, and fertilizer will not bind and therefore wash out and end up in the water table, causing pollution in the process while the plants don't have a chance to absorb any of the much needed nutrients. The addition of compost to soils before planting is something that is often overlooked, but it is the foundation of a good landscape.

Mulch, Mulch and more Mulch
Use mulch to conserve soil moisture. Organic mulches help retain moisture so there is less need to water. They also recycle plant materials that might otherwise end up in the landfill. In addition, mulches control annual weeds that compete with desired plants for water. Organic mulches improve soil structure as they decompose and moderate the soil temperature, two factors that also help plants use water efficiently.

Planting a variety of plants as opposed to planting large areas of the same variety will reduce the effects of pest and diseases and therefore reduce the needs for extra maintenance and minimize your landscape’s impact on the environment. I also like to use plant communities in my designs, plants which grow together in nature with similar needs.

Pass on the Grass!
The reduction of lawn areas, especially St. Augustine turf, will reduce the need for excessive irrigation, fertilization, weed and pest control. The average maintenance of one acre of turf is +/- $2950.00 per year. Ground covers and larger plant beds are excellent and colorful alternatives. Pollution by lawn maintenance equipment also has a serious effect on the environment, especially two-cycle equipment. The average use of lawn chemicals per acre is 10x more than farmers use on their land. 60-70 million birds are killed each year, due to pesticides. And beneficial insects are targeted as well, with every pesticide application.

Ask me about replacing your existing thirsty lawn with no-mow native blend grass which requires water once a week or less.

Proper mowing of the lawn helps to conserve moisture. Mowing at the proper height (do not remove more than one third of the grass at any one mowing) allows the grass to develop deeper roots that are more efficient in using soil moisture, and reduces annual weeds.

Proper Irrigation
A professional irrigation system that is designed, installed and maintained by a qualified landscape contractor will save you headaches, water, time and money. It is the key to success or failure of your landscape.

Avoid watering by hand, it often wastes water as there is excess runoff, and water does not penetrate beyond the top 1 inch of soil. This irrigation practice harms plants by forcing root growth too close to the surface.

Early morning watering minimizes water loss through excessive evaporation.

Grouping plants by water requirements is one way to guard against overwatering some plants and under watering others. Limit plants with high water demands to small areas that can be watered efficiently.

Design grass areas to make watering easier. Long narrow areas and small, odd shapes are hard to water efficiently. Avoid turf in the strip between the sidewalk and the road; most irrigation water will land on the paved surfaces and run off.

Pervious Surfaces
Using hardscape elements which allow water to flow through helps filter out chemicals, silt, and a host of other pollutants. Instead of running directly into creeks and rivers, residential overflows percolate through the soil to purify before entering the watershed and perhaps even replenishing the groundwater tables. Ask me about what pervious surfaces are right for your project.

What is Water Wise?
Same as Sustainable! Water Wise landscape design works with nature and natural forces such as rainfall to create a beautiful, livable landscape, while using less water.

Reducing water needs of your landscape requires careful observation, planning, and common sense. Steps include:

Choosing the best design and plants
Soil preparation
Proper irrigation for efficient water use

Water Wise landscaping is also known as xeriscaping.
The word is a combination of the prefix xero- or xer- meaning dry or dryness and the suffix -scape meaning scene or view.

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"They're making more people every day but they ain't making no more dirt."

- Will Rogers, American humorist
Tranquill Gardens