How to Adapt Landscape Design to Climate Change- Green Landscape Design

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How to Adapt Landscape Design to Climate Change- Green Landscape Design

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With so much unpredictable weather on a global scale, it is becoming the “new normal” to adapt to climate change. This can be particularly challenging when it comes to green landscape design, which is now compromised by things like heat island effect, droughts, CO2 fertilization, evapotranspiration, carbon sequestration, salt water intrusion, and ultraviolet radiation.


By choosing climate change adaptable grasses, plants and trees, you may be able to elongate the life of your green landscape design. This will support soil erosion reduction, water conservation, and environmental health.


These are some of the green landscape design changes for a sustainable environment that can withstand the elements while maintaining its aesthetic beauty.


Tree Science


As humans continue to decimate massive areas of tree-covered land, it is more important than ever to add as many trees to your green landscape design as you can. Whether deciduous or evergreen, planting as many trees as possible will add much needed oxygen to the atmosphere. Mature trees are natural carbon- capture creatures storing up to a ton of CO2. Also, some recommend planting shade trees near the sunniest part of your home to reduce air conditioning loads in summer.


Maximizing the absorption and storage of CO2 is called carbon sequestration and according to Dave Nowak, a researcher at the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Syracuse, New York, the best trees to do this include: Common Horse-Chestnut, Black Walnut, American Sweetgum, Ponderosa Pine, Red Pine, White Pine, London Plane, Hispaniolan Pine, Douglas Fir, Scarlet Oak, Red Oak, Virginia Live Oak and Bald Cypress.


Plant Strength


If you live in an area that is particularly hard hit by climate change, your green landscape design needs to include plants that are capable of withstanding cold temperatures, rain, sun and wind elements.


  • Heat – For drought risk areas choose plants that need minimal watering such as: succulents, lavender, rosemary, sage, catmint, oregano, and thyme. Also, the herb, agastache, aka hyssop, flowers all summer and attracts wildlife in need like hummingbirds.
  • Cold – Plants that do well in frost and cold include: Broccoli, cabbage, calendula, carrot, chives, lettuce, pansy, peas, radish, swiss chard and spinach.


Pave Friendly


If you pave paths and other areas of a green landscape design, you should take climate change into consideration. It is best to use recycled materials that allow for high permeability to avoid rainwater runoff and maximize capture of precipitation. Also, as the sun continues to warm the planet, choose lighter colored materials for less heat absorption and more heat reflection.


Mow Electric


There’s no reason you should use a gas powered mower to cut your grass. It is estimated that these machines spew as much pollution in one hour as it takes a car to create carbon in forty hours. This is due to no anti-pollution regulators on gas mowers like there are on cars, such as the catalytic convertor. Electric lawn mowers are finally able to compete with carbon producing gas mowers. They easily charge, are clean, and make minimal noise.


Reduce Heat-Island Effect


Installing vegetative roof and climbing wall systems as well as photovoltaic shade canopies can reduce the heat-island effect. Heat island effect is described as a rise in temperature of an urban center compared to that of the surrounding rural area by as much as five to nine degrees Fahrenheit. Green landscape design, particularly in urban areas, should include grass and trees (vegetable and fruit bearing) planted on rooftops, and vine plants along the base which help cool the area and, thereby, reduce fossil fuel use.


Rain Catch Barrels


Place rain-catch barrels throughout your green landscape design so you can utilize free rainwater to keep your landscape hydrated without wasting water used for cleaning.


When you adapt your green landscape design to climate change, it will help maintain a more efficient outdoor space while supporting your planet at the same time. It takes millions of people who make small changes like these to get our world more sustainable, even when our politicians are living in the Dark Ages.


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