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Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies

Articles: Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies

Landscape architect Owen Dell long ago established himself as a maverick, promoting design solutions that actually enhanced the natural ecology of a site, while providing wonderful spaces for outdoor living and gardening. His seminal articles in Pacific Horticulture may have incorporated the first use of the term “sustainable” in reference to the garden, although the concept of a regionally appropriate, chemical-free, wildlife-friendly, and resource-efficient approach to garden making has been a dominant theme of the magazine since its founding in 1976. Owen has spoken at three of the magazine’s Gardening Under Mediterranean Skies symposia. So it was with great enthusiasm that I learned of Owen’s new publication, Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies. And what a resource it is!

While there may be many definitions of “sustainable,” Owen focuses on key ideas that make sustainable landscaping work: recognize the garden as a living system based on nature; aim for stability as the garden matures (particularly important to reduce pruning needs); recycle and repurpose materials; accept local conditions (especially climate and soils); and carefully consider the inputs and outputs of a gar...

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