At Io we are dedicated to the concept of sustainability through ecological landscape design. By factoring in the soils, climate, micro-climate and natural ecology for each specific site, we are able to create environmentally sensitive and sustainable landscapes. Our goal is to preserve, improve, and restore ecological function by implementing functional site plans and beautiful garden designs that are as functional as they are attractive.
Some of our favorite ecologically friendly residential projects include:
- Gibson Residence – Front-yard food production & waterwise
- Healy House Garden – Colorful and pollinator friendly perennials
- McKay Dee Butterfly Garden – Drought tolerant habitat for butterflies
Site Design for Ecological Sustainability
Sustainable ecological landscape design begins with design architecture at the site level. At Io LandArch we prefer to get involved in a project early on, so that we can work to minimize disturbance to existing natural sites wherever possible and plan for development and new construction that protects ecologically sensitive areas. We often work with teams of architects and engineers to consult on the placement of roads and buildings to minimize site disturbance and optimize functionality. A great example of this includes passive solar, where the placement and solar orientation of a building as well as the types of vegetation that shade it in the summer, can significantly increase energy efficiency.
In terms of site improvement, we focus on providing green infrastructure whenever possible, including vegetation in many forms – trees, green roofs, and green walls, as well as bioswales, and rain gardens – that work to minimize heat island effect, clean the air and filter storm water runoff.
Planting Design for Earth Enjoyment
Our planting designs utilize native and drought tolerant species, adapted to specific site conditions, in order to provide wildlife habitat and pollinator-friendly spaces. We don’t just design individual plants, but entire plant communities. In nature plants grow together in plant communities that support (and sometimes compete with) each other. When we approach a site plan for the first time, we identify all of the various potential micro-climates on the site (like south-side sunny location or a north-side shady spot) and design a palette of plant materials that will be naturally adapted to that particular location and grow well with each other. Contrary to popular belief, xeric and low water use planting designs don’t have to be all rocks or gravel! In fact the most ecologically friendly planting layouts are actually very beautiful and relatively ‘lush’, incorporating a high quantity and wide variety of colorful, fragrant, and visually stunning plants!
At Io LandArch we are also well versed in the latest irrigation technology and can recommend the best type of irrigation to optimize water efficiency on your site. Did you know that simply having a well designed, and properly maintained and operated, irrigation system can reduce the amount of water used on a landscape by as much as 50% without changing out any of the plant material! Combining properly designed irrigation systems, including spray irrigation, rotors, inline drip irrigation and/or point source drip irrigation with a xeric or low-water use planting design can provide a significant reduction in water use, while maintaining the benefits of having real live plants: beauty, shade, wildlife habitat, pollinator friendly, and reducing heat island effect!
Also let’s not forget about the ecological importance of localized and homestead-style food production! Io LandArch has years of experience working with master gardeners and community gardeners on the design of functional vegetable plots. We are also well versed in permaculture theory and have a solid understanding of how to design functional, small-scale, food production and forage gardens to provide a beautiful and practical source for locally grown produce! In fact our gardens can be so attractive that you would want to put them in your front yard – and some people do – check out the Gibson Residence Garden!
We are happy to discuss with you how you might be able to save water and help the environment by having a more ecologically friendly landscape for your project. Please Contact Us to schedule a complimentary consultation call!