shifting the paradigm…. bridging the gap

There is a gap in our landscape and land managing industry today between conventional landscapes and ecological landscapes.  My work bridges the gap, integrating native plant communities-based landscapes into the built environment.

Our immediate environs can be designed to support Nature, by making beautiful, legible, designed landscapes, that people consider to be an amenity, not just a wild place they visit somewhere else or see from afar.  As development pressures continue on our lands, there are more opportunities to restore, and to design, in ways that support nature. 

The leading edge of the landscape industry is native plant community-based designed landscapes.  These landscapes, used in our “ornamental landscape” settings, rely on familiar visual landscape archetypes and ecological-principles-based design. 

Stewardship sensibilities, rather than gardening sensibilities, are the best way to maintain these landscapes, even when it is an highly designed aesthetic.  The plants, arranged in this designed, but nature-inspired manner, work together and can thrive together.  Because the landscape is healthy, it can provide valuable ecological services. 

Design continuity over time is important to maintain the landscape as intended, as our desire for a static aesthetic will be challenged by succession. The oversight of the stewardship work, and incremental changes over time are best overseen by the designer.  Typically, documentation and plans should be incorporated to guide future work, and at minimum, a professional with design sensibility and plant knowledge should be empowered with management. 

Ecological restoration-trained crews can be tasked to do most of the regular work of weed management, supplemental plantings, and dividing.  Naturally, there are certain gardening tasks that still must be done depending on how “front door” the space, but by no means do these landscapes require the continuous maintenance of the conventional landscape paradigm of bare mulch, individual plants, chemical controls and irrigation.

Questions? Please send me a comment!

Alexia

Published by Alexia Landscape Architect; Re-Ecology LTD

Designing with systems, both natural and man-made, in mind, with a careful consideration of stewardship and maintenance, will go far in creating a sustainable design.

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