Sustainable Landscape Management: Design, Construction, and Maintenance
During our combined 46 (31 + 15) years of teaching landscape design and management, we have developed and refi ned our curriculum to reflect current research, incorporate contemporary issues, and meet course objectives to prepare students for successful careers in the landscape and golf course industries.
The current interest in, and push for, sustainable landscape practices combined with our teaching and industry experiences have guided us in writing this text. Much of what is included in the text comes from our professional experiences, both in and out of the classroom. The 10 chapters in this text are focused on a select group of topics that provide the foundation for sustainable landscapes. Although the focus is on commercial landscape management, the principles described are also relevant to residential properties.
The chapters are organized to provide a context for sustainability and the impact it has on landscape design, installation, and management practices. Throughout the text, we have referenced scientifi c research that substantiates points and replaces myth
or urban legend with data and facts. Chapter 1 provides background and a review of relevant literature on the sustainability movement and sets the stage for subsequent chapters to discuss sustainable landscape practices with some specifi city. Chapter 2 describes the different factors involved in designing beautiful, functional, low-maintenance, and cost-effective landscapes.
The chapter also touches on the landscape design process and how different design approaches can enhance sustainability. Chapter 3 moves from the design process to the construction process and materials selection. As part of materials selection,
there is a discussion about plants, hardscapes, and irrigation design and installation strategies to enhance a landscape’s sustainability. In some cases, existing landscapes can benefi t from retrofi tting, and this is the focus of Chapter 4. The chapter outlines a series of questions that should be asked as part of a site analysis, and then provides guidance on prioritizing areas to retrofit and key issues that often need to be fixed in mature landscapes to enhance their sustainability. Chapter 5 describes landscapes in the context of an ecosystem and highlights establishment strategies for new plantings and management strategies for postplanting succession. Chapter 6 discusses a number of environmental concerns including nutrient and pesticide runoff, leaching, and the impact of pesticides on humans and other nontarget organisms. Other topics in the chapter include air pollution from power equipment emissions and environmental concerns with depletion of resources. The chapter concludes with an interesting perspective on sustainability and environmental rhetoric. Sustainable soils are the topic of Chapter 7, including a discussion of healthy soils. The chapter then moves on to outline sustainable options when developing soils for landscapes, including using onsite soils and the impact of adding amendments. The chapter concludes by describing the role of mulches in sustainable soil management. Planting, fertilizing, irrigating, and pruning of trees, shrubs, and beds are covered in detail in Chapter 8. Chapter 9 provides a comprehensive discussion of the role lawns play in sustainable landscapes. The chapter outlines the importance of matching grass type to growing conditions and how grass breeding programs have impacted which grass species are readily available.
The characteristics of cool- and warm-season grasses along with grass-dicot plant combinations for sustainable lawns are described. From here the chapter addresses sustainable maintenance strategies of mowing, irrigation, and fertility programs. The fi nal chapter in the text discusses sustainable pest management, in particular the components and effectiveness of integrated pest management (IPM) systems.
When it comes to sustainability, there often is no single solution to solving a problem or enhancing the landscape’s sustainability. With that in mind, we tried to tailor this text to describe and illustrate sustainable landscapes, as well as provide examples of landscapes that are lacking sustainability in certain areas. The ultimate goal is to offer you specific and proven strategies that can be used to improve sustainability.
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