ecoscapes blog

Setting Sustainable Landscaping Goals for 2023

Clipboard resting on wooden planks. A pen sits to the right of the clipboard. A small potted plant is in the upper left of the image. The paper on the clipboard has the text "2023 To Do List" followed by the numbers 1 through 5 written in a colu
Ah, a New Year. A time to reset, to determine what to accomplish over the next 12 months. Take this blog. One of my goals this year is to publish my blog by no later than mid-month. So far so good!

Okay, okay. . .I’m not off to a stellar start. But it will continue to be my ‘goal’ or ‘aspiration’ or ‘intent’ for the remainder of the year. I’ll call it anything but a ‘resolution’ given how few people stick with those!

Unlike past posts where I provide tips on how you can garden more sustainably, I’m focusing this piece on how I plan to do that this year. Below is a mix of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ goals I’m tackling. I hope there are some goals here you may consider pursuing, too.

· Find more ways to ‘spread the word’ about sustainable landscaping—This will take different forms. For example, I aim to build out a robust Resources page on my website. I’m also planning on adding the capability to make it easier to share blog posts and other information on my site. And I will be making two garden club presentations on how to create water features that beautify yards while sustaining wildlife.

My overall objective—with the help of like-minded people—is to reach more individuals with information about how they can nourish nature and reduce their environmental footprint.

· Be more intentional with my purchases—Whenever possible, this means avoiding purchasing new materials or limiting how much I buy. I’ve become better at this, but there’s room for improvement. For example, I’ve built a base for our firepit using bricks left by the previous owner. And when the seat slats on our swing started to badly deteriorate, I bought one cedar board to fix it.

This year, I plan to add stone steppers around our deck. The easiest route would be to go to a local store specializing in selling stone and purchase what I need. Instead, I’m going to scour resources such as Freecycle, Trash nothing, Nextdoor and Craigslist.

· Finish one landscaping project. Then move on to the next—Every year, I create a fairly lengthy ‘To Do’ list. Typically, I have one big project I’m intent on completing. I’ll start tackling that project, but it’s not unusual for some hurdle or frustration to arise. When that happens, I tend to move onto something else easier to accomplish. Before I know it, months have flown by and my big project remains unfinished.

This year, my intent is to finish landscaping the large bed I’ve created at the front of our property. Now that I’ve shared this goal with you, I hope this ‘holds my feet to the fire,’ so to speak. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

· Take time to learn from nature—Besides gardening, I like hiking and biking in nearby natural areas. Yet I’m often preoccupied with getting in a good workout or mentally reviewing what I need to get done when I get home. My goal this year: take more opportunities to stop and take a closer look at the nature around me.

Besides providing sheer enjoyment, nature has a lot to teach. What plant combinations are common and appealing? Which native plants thrive in heavy shade? What berry shrubs do birds flock to? How might I replicate the way rocks are arranged in a small waterfall or stream? I can use these lessons around our home and in my clients’ designs.

· Let go of the need for perfection—Nature is always changing. Carefully placed perennials will pop up in unexpected places. A favorite shrub or tree that flourished for a long time will inexplicably decline or die. Critters will dig up or gnaw on favorite plants. Of course, as a gardener, I’m constantly shaping what I would like our outside environment to look and feel like. Yet I need to continually remind myself that is no perfect end state. There will always be unexpected ‘twists and turns’—both welcome and unwelcome.

· Spend more time savoring—I find it very easy to walk into our backyard and immediately notice everything that needs to get done. Those shrubs need trimming. Ugh, more weeds to pull. Hmm, the pond could use a sprucing up. Before I know it, I’m in full work mode. One of my intentions this year is to spend more time soaking in my surroundings. Bring a cup of coffee out to our swing and just sit for 30 minutes. Or take 15 minutes to slowly walk around the yard, stopping periodically to look at what’s in bloom and watch wildlife in action.

Well, that’s enough about my 2023 game plan. How about yours? Whatever that might be, know that every action you take to be a better steward of your piece of the planet helps make a difference.

Did you know eisenhart ecoscapes has a Facebook page? This is where I post news and interesting items on sustainable landscaping topics. When you have a moment, I invite you visit my page. If you like what you read, please click on ‘Like’ to be notified of my new posts. And if you think an item would be of interest to someone else, I hope you will share it with them!
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