I received with great interest a review copy of Owen Dell’s Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies. Although I am not really a fan of the “Dummy” connotation, I’ve got to say that Owen has done an excellent job in covering this subject in a well thought out and accessible way.

I’m going to pull some high points from the book to whet your appetite, but this is one of those books that I highly recommend that you add to your reading list.

Manage Your Inputs

Ever go to Home Depot or Lowes on a Saturday and watch the huge cartloads of bagged and bottled potions leaving the store? It truly is an amazing sight.

All of these bags, bottles, potions, and additives have been shipped from a supplier to the main distribution center of the big box store, and then shipped again to your local site.

That’s a lot of gas.

In a sustainable landscape, your goal is to reduce the amount of fossil fuel used to support your garden. This includes reducing your use of power tools, but also reducing the carbon footprint of everything you put into your garden.

Manage Your Outputs

When you choose a sustainable garden, your goal is to come as close as possible to zero sum inputs/outputs.

Yard “waste” can be composted on site.

Stormwater can be collected or directed to your garden, keeping it out of municipal stormwater systems, which prevents streambank erosion, protects our waterways, and reduces the amount of toxic chemicals that are picked up as the water makes its way into our watersheds.

Your Best Design Tool is a Lawn Chair

Take some time to really get to know your garden. Put a chair at various locations in your garden–and just sit.

Observe your garden through different times of the day, different seasons, and different weather conditions.

This time spent just watching your garden will teach you many things, like where the water collects after a rain, which spots make you feel most at home, and what areas may need attention the soonest.

Don’t rush to add anything to your garden until you’ve spent some time just observing and learning.

Owen Dell’s book, Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies should definitely go on your “must read” list.

You’ll gain a lot of knowledge and tips on how to make your garden more sustainable and make better choices to protect the environment.

Plus, you’ll create a beautiful, relaxing space to feed your soul.

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