June 10 2013

With the Environment in Mind: Planting Guides

In the age of sustainability and more environmently-minded people, landscaping guides are more prominent now than in the past few decades. A landscape guide sets out specific plants pertaining to a certain region, city, or town. Their main purpose is to solidify the native and non-native species in a given area, including, but not limited to, flowering plants, soils, bloom time, water use, and trees. Planting guides, as they are sometimes referred to, inform the user of planting techniques, preservation plans, irrigation options, maintenance & replacement concerns, and suitable materials for their specific landscaped area.

Flowering plants tend to require more sunlight and maintenance than other shrubs.

Flowering plants require more sunlight and maintenance than other shrubs

The harsh Colorado winters and lack of water limit the plant typologies that are native to the region.

The harsh Colorado winters and lack of water limit plant typologies native to the region

The Town of Buena Vista, Colorado offers a planting guide, approved by the Board of Trustees, for its citizens to follow when submitting landscaping plans. The BV Planting Guide outlines what trees, shrubs, and flowering plants are native to the South Central Colorado valley region. A highlight of the guide is the ‘Xeriscape Landscape Techniques’ section, which refers to a landscape practice requiring less watering than a more traditional landscaping approach.

The planting guide states xeriscaping includes seven principles:

  • Proper Planning;
  • Soil Improvement;
  • Limited Turf Area;
  • Efficient Irrigation;
  • Proper Use of Mulches;
  • Use of Native & Drought Tolerant Plants;
  • Proper Maintenance.

Referring to a planting guide can really benefit a resident of the specified region. Knowing what to plant, when to plant it, and the maintenance of a given region can dramatically reduce cost and time spent on landscaping. A planting guide can also keep native plants in their natural setting versus introducing or populating non-native species into the incorrect area.

Have you checked out your city’s planting guide? Do you know what plants are native to your region?

Credits: Images by Katie Poppel. Data linked to sources.

Katie Poppel

Katie Poppel comes to The Grid as a student constantly on the go. Set to graduate from the University of Cincinnati in 2014, she is studying for a bachelor of urban planning with focuses in urban design and sustainability. Her program has allowed her to work for the City of Chicago and the Congress for New Urbanism this past year, as well as study abroad at the University of Amsterdam, College of Social Sciences. In her free time, you can find her exploring cities, playing soccer, or skiing. She has a serious case of wanderlust and enjoys the rush of cities over the countryside. Katie writes from Colorado, as she interns for the small town of Buena Vista south of Denver.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 10th, 2013 at 9:00 am and is filed under Environmental Design, 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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