When it comes to the factors that potential buyers look for in a home, sustainability has steadily climbed the ranks. Per the 2018 National Association of REALTORS® Sustainability Resource Guide, 61% of surveyed realtors noted their clients (of all age groups) want more sustainable features in homes to save on utility bills, reduce energy and water consumption, and minimize toxins in the air.
While innovation on the interior of the home can support these efforts — from smart thermostats to energy-efficient appliances — the same goes for the exterior. To transform your outdoor area into a more sustainable landscape, consider investing in any (or all!) of these features.
According to the EPA, the average American household uses 320 gallons of water every day — 30% of which is dedicated to outdoor water use. While outdoor water use is due in large part to watering lawns (we’ll address this in more detail next), installing a permeable paver patio can curb your water consumption.
Permeable paver patios are designed with spaces between them, so water can naturally drain between these areas and flow back into the ground. This creates a type of rainwater harvest system where water captured from nature instead of the hose or tap can nourish plants.
Because rainwater is filtered back into the ground versus into the waterways, permeable paver patios also reduce stormwater runoff. This keeps harmful chemicals and pollutants out of our waterways and avoids the subsequent damage it can have on the environment and our safety.
While it’s possible to underwater your lawn, the opposite scenario — overwatering — is much more common. In efforts to ensure their lawn gets the nutrients it needs to stay thick and green, homeowners tend to oversaturate grass. This causes water to clog the pores of grass blades and leaves no room for oxygen (which is vital for lawn growth) to enter these spaces.
Whereas manual watering techniques leave more room for error, a smart irrigation system does the work for you and reduces water waste. Based on local weather conditions, these systems can automatically adjust how much water they distribute to your plants. (You can think of it as a thermostat for your lawn.)
So just how much water does a smart irrigation system save? The EPA reports that replacing a standard clock timer with a weather-based irrigation controller can save an average home roughly 8,800 gallons of water every year.
As landscape lighting helps keep your home safe and secure, it, of course, uses energy. In the case of incandescent light bulbs, this energy comes in part from the light the bulb emits, as well as the heat it produces. So while the initial price tag may be small, long-term energy costs add up over time.
LED landscape lights provide a much more cost-effective solution. Not only do LEDs require less wattage to produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs, but they also produce no infrared radiation, so they emit no heat and remain cool to the touch. This combination of elements enables today’s LED bulbs to cut energy use by up to 80%.
Bonus: LED lights come with a significantly longer life span than their incandescent counterparts — five times as long, to be exact.
As a landscape design professional, Green Impressions has a successful track record of bringing ideas for sustainable landscape design to life. Let us help make your vision of a sustainable landscape a reality. Contact us for a free consultation.