Over the past few years, you may have noticed the growing publicity regarding global warming. What can we do to stop it or slow it down? In reality, global warming (also known as global climate change) is a natural process that has been occurring on and off since the formation of the planet. Industrialization has accelerated this natural process, releasing chemicals and particles into the atmosphere and waterways. Recently, strict regulations regarding clean air and water have been put in place to ensure the health and safety for people and our planet. Keep in mind; regulations do not stop climate change. Instead, they awaken industries, governments, and citizens to the sensitivity of our environmental resources and how much of an impact humans have on natural systems.
As a result of climate change, we need to adapt our current lifestyles and adjust to new trends in weather. Global climate change is associated with large scale changes in weather patterns in various forms related to both heating and cooling. Sustainable design, also known as ‘Green Design,’ can aid you in this lifestyle transition and make life more eco-friendly. A sustainable design is defined by its sensitivity to environmental systems such as local hydrology, topography, and native plant communities. There are many benefits of sustainable design for the homeowner and it can prove to be a vital landscape investment.
Examples of sustainable landscape practices include:
Rain Barrel: A 55 gallon drum with screen and piping that is connected to your gutters. Rain barrels can have attached hoses, or irrigation lines to feed your plants with recycled water.
Vegetated Swales: A mildly sloping depression that directs flowing rainwater to existing drainage systems, while promoting water to infiltrate the soil and reducing stress on public sewer systems.
Porous Pavement: Layers of permeable material with void spaces that allow water to pass through the pavement and eventually infiltrate the soil beneath.
Green Roof: A living roof with plants that are drought and sun tolerant. Helps reduce heating and cooling expenses and is a beautiful contemporary aesthetic.
Retention Basin: Any constructed area designed to hold water and allow infiltration over time. Designs range from highly vegetated rain gardens to precast drywells underground.
Sustainable design practices can be implemented to mitigate the issues that homeowners face during climate change. To find the practices that work best on your property, start by identifying which natural systems affect you. Here on Long Island, wind can be a major destructive force that causes erosion. Windbreaks are a design solution that can help relieve some of the stress provided by windstorms. Plants can be used to screen wind and provide a comfortable microclimate in other seasons. Tidal surge is another erosive problem and is associated with sea level rise, wave action and severe flooding events. That is why it is crucial to have efficient stormwater management practices at your home, whether you are on the shore or inland. It is important to have a comprehensive analysis done for the existing conditions of soil and plant health on your property. This information can guide you in preventing erosion, slope stabilization and proper plant selection. Wildlife, plant life and human life can coexist symbiotically and evolve in unison with climate change.
Goldberg and Rodler’s staff can help you with this process, while assisting you to design a beautiful and sustainable landscape.
Written by Nick Onesto