In a previous post I described how hedgerows can provide a necessary “side-order of messy” that can contribute valuable biodiversity to a landscape. It left a few people wondering, what does the eco-neat-and-tidy, but biologically diverse, landscape look like? Is there a middle ground between highly-ordered landscapes and natural landscapes? How do we create residential wild landscapes that still look great? Two words – color and edges.
Here is the key – we use neat edges for “visual legibility” and wrap up the wildness with a ribbon of order. It’s the ribbons of order that allow us to relate to the landscape as part of our human experience, to integrate it into our built environment, while still providing habitat. The closer the plantings are to the house, the more ordered they are, the farther away, the more wild. The project in the slideshow below reflects our goal as a company – to create landscapes that protect and enhance ecological function while providing aesthetic curb appeal. To achieve this goal we:
- remove and continue to control invasive species (Garlic mustard, honeysuckle, buckthorn)
- include diverse native plants appropriate for the site conditions, modeled on local natural plant communities, in sufficient quantities to provide habitat (in this case 6,000 plants). Arrange these plants in large massings, but make each mass a matrix through which a wide diversity of species co-exist.
- add organic matter and balanced nutrients to create healthy living soils
- reduce runoff, encourage absorption and groundwater recharge to protect water quality of the nearby surface waters
- use local materials to reduce carbon footprint
- included spaces for the clients to relax, observe and connect with nature