Sustainable landscape design strategies can inspire every garden project, are include adopting smart water, plant health, and plant selection practices. Sustainable landscape design is woven into the development of initial garden concepts, the installation process, and caretaking after everything is in place. Here are ten things to think about when creating a landscape design:

Avoid Using Potable Water

A truly sustainable garden landscape design wouldn’t tap into the potable water supply, water meant for drinking. This might seem like an impossible goal, but these are methods of capturing water to conserve supply and save on water bills.


Look at your property and garden area as a watershed. Note what water moves through your yard. Do you get rainwater, dew, mist, rainwater tankfog, etc.? How can you preserve the water as it flows in, to use later on in the garden?

Redirect Water

Capture rainwater as it rolls off your roof into a water tank instead of letting it run into the street and down the gutter. Redirecting roof downspout water runoff into a dry stream bed or other land areas where the water can percolate into the soil.

Water Availability Adapted Plants

In California, it doesn’t rain during the summer. So, the plants we choose to grow as part of a sustainable landscape design should be adapted to not getting water during the dry and warm summer months.

Healthy Soil

Another way to use water wisely is to invest it well into the garden space. One of the ways to do is to create healthy soil so that your soil becomes a sponge and actually absorbs all the water that falls down into it. The absorbed water can replenish groundwater, or be used to nourish established plants resulting in a smart investment.

Don’t Over Crowd Plants

When you’re planning out your garden, place plants far enough apart so they can put down roots and expand. If you put in too many plants, you’ll have to spend more time pruning and maintaining the garden. Overcrowding can adversely affect plant health and require more water.

Raised Garden BedSimilar Growing Conditions

Group plants with similar growing needs together in the garden. Placement for optimal access to sun and shade, watering times and amounts will create efficient use of resources.

If you want to put in an edible vegetable garden, consider using raised planter boxes to support these plants that will need more water than other areas of the garden. You can choose to hand water just the boxes to make sure they get enough water to keep them healthy.

Rethink Your Lawn

If you really want a nice lush green lawn, there are ways to create that effect sustainably.

Lawn Size

Figure out what functions the lawn will provide and how big it needs to be. Is it for kids and dogs to play on? Install smart overhead irrigation to supply just the right amount of water.

Types of Grass

There are different grass varieties available that need less water than traditional lawns. Many of these grasses do well with subsurface line drip irrigation and provide that green carpet effect.

The meaning and purpose of sustainable landscape design is to create a healthy environment. Using just enough resources to support a garden that will, in turn, be home to wildlife like bees and birds is the overall goal.