10 New Year’s Resolutions for the Gardener and Landscape Designer

January 1, 2012


Here is a list of the top 10 things we’d love everyone to do (or not do) in 2012 and the years ahead.  Read through our list and even if you can only try one of these New Year’s Resolutions, make 2012 the year you try something new.  And do pass this along to your associates in the landscaping industry – from little acorns mighty trees do grow!  We wish everyone a happy, prosperous year.

Use more Natives Resolve to include more native plants of the area in your designs, or if you are a homeowner looking for plants to include in your garden, resolve to go native!  Natives require less water and care, are hardy, and often offer a food source for wild birds and animals.

Reduce (better still, Eliminate) Herbicide/Pesticide Use  Resolve to look for more natural alternatives to RoundUp and other chemical pesticides.  Chemical pesticides kill more than just weeds – frogs, beneficial insects such as bees, and other creatures are regularly killed by the injudicious use of pesticides.  Look for alternatives – they are out there and not difficult to find.  University research shows that glyphosate is poisoning the soil and all creatures that live in it or feed on plants grown on it. Diseases previously contained by the natural ecosystem are now out of control due to the use of RoundUp and GMO’s.  Follow this link below and watch the video (ok, it is an hour long – but worth it)  http://capwiz.com/grassrootsnetroots/issues/alert/?alertid=58601501

Continue Your Education  Resolve to learn something new this year.  Go to the library and check out a book about a famous landscape designer or architect who is new to you, or learn about someone whose work is completely different from your usual design style.  Visit a garden that is open to the public that you have never seen before.  Attend landscape and/or flower shows.  Discover a new garden blog and share it with your friends.  Take a class in landscape design from your local college or a private school.

Be Water Wise  Reduce the size of, or eliminate, lawns altogether from your designs.  Too often lawns are there because the designer or contractor didn’t have a better solution.  Use water more efficiently by installing a new water-saving programmable irrigation clock that can automatically pause the irrigating program when it rains and even have the ability to track real-time weather conditions.  Check and see if your area has adopted any specific water-saving ordinances that you should know about.  In California we have Assembly bill 1881 – the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance that is slowly being enacted State-wide.

Create Wildlife-Friendly Gardens  This is easier to do than you think!  There are websites available and many sources to learn how to incorporate wildlife-friendly details in a new or even an existing garden.  Check out the National Wildlife Federation website, for instance.  Even something as simple as a birdbath under a tree can make life a little easier for birds.  Visit the National Wildlife Federation at www.nwf.org to find a Certified Professional Landscaper in your area that can help you design and build a wildlife-friendly landscape.

Stop Burning Your Leaves    Each Fall I watch the smoke from damp piles of leaves that are being burned in our area.  Leaves offer wonderful and natural mulch for the garden, retaining moisture, protecting plants from compaction and returning nutrients to the soil.  Composted or not, shredded or not, try to find ways to take advantage of the leaves rather than burn them.  Your neighbors and the air will   thank you for your effort. 








Stop Shearing Your Shrubs  If you’re constantly having to shear and prune shrubs in the landscape there’s a good chance the plant selected is just too big for the location.  Remember that old mantra, Right Plant, Right Place.  Embrace the natural shape of your plants and shrubs.  Back away from those shears.

Support Your Industry  Resolve to attend a home and landscape show, garden show, or other landscape venue and take the time to meet others in your field, network, find out how you can help each other in these difficult economic times.  Join LinkedIn and other social networking sites if you haven’t already.  Whether it’s the landscape contractors association, professional landscape designers or landscape architects – become active in one of these organizations and support them.

No More Butchering of Trees  Improperly pruned trees are more susceptible to disease and infestation.  Butchered trees will also grow weaker branch connections that add to the danger of injury to both tree and humans.  Consult with a certified arborist, nursery person or master gardener before trimming the trees – don’t trust someone just because they say they know what they are doing – do some research before the damage happens!  Not sure where to start?  Visit the ISA for more information.

Support Your Local Farmers Market  Here in Auburn, Calif. our Farmers Market is going every Saturday of the year, bringing in-season fresh fruits, vegetables, honey and organic, locally raised meats.  There are websites that identify where and when farmers markets are happening across the country.  These folks are members of your community and if you have a question about a product who better to ask then the person who grew it.  Yes, you may pay a little bit more for the food, but the quality more than makes up for the cost.  And it’s a fun day out! 


One Response to “10 New Year’s Resolutions for the Gardener and Landscape Designer”

  1. Great Suggestions Rob! Have share this on MyGardenSchool and Oxford College of Garden Design FB pages

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