The Payoff

The Sustainable Sites Initiative – Operations & Maintenance Considerations

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the important aspect of Applied Foresight and how designers’ decisions impact the bottom line.  Part 2 looked at the LandEconics Program, and how it can be used to identify the tasks and associated costs for properly maintaining a designed landscape.  In this final Part 3, we will revisit the concept of treating the living components of the landscape as assets – which they truly are (their value increases geometrically over time), and how Managing “Living Assets” for Sustainability can pay-off.

The LandEconics Advantage

The Sustainable Sites Initiative – Operations & Maintenance Considerations

This series deals with the Operations and Maintenance considerations of the Sustainable Sites Initiative, and how designers can have a big impact on the bottom line for their clients.  In Part 1, we discussed the importance of applied foresight, and how initial design decisions do in fact have a bearing on whether a landscape will stand the test of time.

Foresight - The Designer's Key to Landscape Problem-Solving

The Sustainable Sites Initiative – Operations & Maintenance Considerations

An astonishing amount of work has gone into the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) over the past decade.  I believe that the Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks will eventually become the new LEED for Landscapes.  Whereas LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) deals with green building practices, SITES takes the best of Low Impact Design, sensible site planning & design practices, and lessons learned from LEED – and applies then to the landscape.

Mulch Volcanoes

It’s hard to believe that mulch can be deadly – right?  Sadly, mulch can indeed be fatal to a plant if applied improperly – as in the case of mulch volcanoes.  What is a ‘mulch volcano’ you ask?  A mulch volcano is a phenomenon that defies all logic and sound horticultural practice.  In recent years, these mounds of mulch have become as prevalent as the bubonic plague in 14th century Europe.  Why individuals continue to believe that eight to 12-inches (and sometimes as much as 2-feet) of mulch piled around a tree trunk is a good idea remains unclear, but the fact of the matter is they’ve sentenced the plant to a slow death.

What's Your Business' Pain Point?

What’s a Pain Point you ask?  According to Jeffrey Carter at West Loop Ventures, “A pain point is a problem, real or perceived.  Entrepreneurs create opportunities for themselves by creating solutions to those pain points. Solutions create value for everyone.” 

Sunlight and Photosynthesis

A Building Block for Sustainable Landscaping

Have you ever wondered why plants are green?  I have, and as I was preparing this piece I began to retrace my steps when I navigated horticulture, taxonomy, and botany classes in college.  I was not searching for a complex clinical or chemical answer to that age-old question about why plants are green, but a succinct answer everyone could easily understand.  Fortunately, our friends at Michigan State University distilled the answer down to the following, and please pay close attention to several key components contained in the answer:

Nutrient Exchange in the Soil

A Building Block for Sustainable Landscaping

Thus far in this series we have discussed the important roles soil, air, and water play in the development of a sustainable landscape.  The next very important building block in the process is nutrients and their associated movement and uptake.  In this tutorial we will see how the first three components all interact and work in concert with one another, and with the nutrient component.

Water Exchange in the Soil

A Building Block for Sustainable Landscaping

In our continued commitment to provide you with valuable and free information that will educate and enhance your business and professional practice, this is the third in a series of blog tutorials which will address the critically important role the physical components of soil, water, air, nutrients, sun-light (photo-synthesis), and temperature all play in ensuring a successful and sustainable landscape.

Air Exchange in the Soil

A Building Block for Sustainable Landscaping

Adequate air exchange between the soil and the atmosphere (especially in terms of Oxygen and CO₂) is the primary function that ensures plant health and vigor in a sustainable landscape.  In addition, the benefits of air exchange both enhance and enrich other basic components and functions of the soil.  The greatest hindrance to the proper amount of free space in the soil for optimum growing conditions is compaction, which literally squeezes out the free space in soils and creates a critically dense soil structure.

Foundations for Sustainable Landscaping - Soils

In our continued commitment to provide you with valuable and free information that will educate and enhance your business and professional practice, this is the first in a series of blog tutorials which will address the critically important role the physical components of soil, water, air, nutrients, sun-light (photo-synthesis), and temperature all play in ensuring a successful and sustainable landscape.

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