It really is this simple: We are all connected.  Everything we do has an effect on others. What we need to do is to remember this phrase every time we have a decision to make. I try to reflect on this each time I prepare a landscape plan.

Architect Bill McDonough said it best:
“How do we love all the children of all species for all time?”

The terms “sustainable” and “green” have become common buzzwords, and for an important reason. But what does sustainable landscaping mean for you, the homeowner? It means using native plants which need less watering and are a natural source of food and shelter for birds, bugs, and wild creatures. Native plantings require fewer applications of fertilizer and, once the plants are established, less physical effort to keep things going. Sustainable landscaping means using rain runoff efficiently; not sending excess water to your neighbors, but routing it responsibly. It means honoring your outdoor space and using its resources mindfully.

For landscape architects, sustainable design is simply good design guided by solid environmental goals. Sustainable design, or “green” design, is what landscape architects have been educated and trained to do. We take careful site and resource analyses, along with site planning and design, to make the most of a given place. The green revolution has opened up the conversation, giving our clients a common language and us an opportunity to educate them. Let's plant more native plants. Let's do better storm water management – with rain gardens and green roofs, and let's tread more lightly on the earth. Let's plant more trees.

The next time you question the cost of a single tree, consider all the work that tree can do. It removes pollutants from the air. It shades buildings and protects them from direct winds. It treats and manages storm water, protects children from exposure to the sun, and provides a roost for birds. Plant the tree.

Our world faces, for the first time in remembered history, an environmental crisis of monumental proportion. If you don't know this, you are not paying attention. While we may not fully understand the consequences of our consumptive habits and demands, we now know that the greenhouse effect is scientific truth, not speculation. Plant the tree. 

Albert Einstein said,
“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”

 To this end, my footprint in this world keeps shrinking. My family and I take recycling very seriously. The Huber home has a new kitchen with recycled glass and concrete counters, linoleum flooring, and Energy Star appliances. We were even honored by the EPA’s “Change the World, Start with Energy Star” campaign which recognized families who had taken steps to cut down energy costs by using appliances and equipment that consume less energy. We are beekeepers. We are community gardeners. We are mindful of how our actions affect our planet, and we make choices that best serve the environment and the people, animals and plants living here.

Plant the tree