August 01 2013

Taking the Prairie to the Suburbs: Introducing Sustainable Urban Landscapes

When one imagines a Nebraska landscape, it is assumed that most of the land consists of large amounts of flat plains and prairie. This familiar landscape is also finding its way into Nebraska’s urban landscapesbringing the prairie to the suburbs.

Plants commonly associated with prairie landscapes have adapted to Nebraska’s often unpredictable weather patterns, which is a major reason that these prairie landscapes have been introduced to our urban gardens. Plants commonly attributed to these landscapes largely consist of:

  • Grasses,
  • Shrubs,
  • Tough perennials, and
  • Wildflowers.

These plants are native to the area, making for tough plants that stand up to the neurotic Nebraska winters and unpredictably warm and dry summers. In doing so, the plants provide for a sustainable garden that can withstand going without water for extended periods of time, as well as allow for plants that  grow back seasonally, which lets gardens become self-maintained year after year..

Prairie Garden Lincoln, Nebraska

Home Garden Prairie Garden Lincoln, Nebraska

Other aspects of these emerging gardens are the tolerance of the plants, which allows them to be ever changing, low maintenance and economical. Although it could be argued that these gardens are messy and carry the potential to be eyesores, there are many options besides the commonly thought of grasses such as flowering perennials and smaller shrubs that can add color, as well as form and shape within the garden.

For those who don’t quite have the green thumb yet, Lincoln citizens can expect to gain inspiration from the University of Nebraska East Campus, as well as the new Union Plaza and other small gardens around the city. There is inspiration popping up all around the Lincoln area, revealing just how popular these new urban landscapes are becoming.

As Lincoln embraces this new sustainable restoration of prairies, how have you seen your city follow suit?

Credits: Images by Lisa Gran. Data linked to sources.

Lisa Gran

Lisa Gran is an undergraduate student in her final semester of studying Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. As an aspiring engineer, Lisa is especially interested in the utilization and development of environmentally sound materials in sustainable planning and design. As she nears the end of her undergraduate studies, she plans on gearing a career in sustainable urban design and engineering principles, drawing inspiration from cities around the globe.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2013 at 9:28 am and is filed under Land Use, Landscape Architecture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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