Sustainable Construction Gold Award 10
This Riverside residence is used by its owners as a retreat from their hectic schedules and they ‘don’t want to notice’ the maintenance crews. They also have two small children and wanted to reduce the amount of chemicals used on the grounds. The family frequently entertained so the landscape was well used and often occupied.
Add to this the cottage garden style with its intensive maintenance needs and a challenge was presented. How to exceed the client’s expectations while delivering a product that was both cost effective and environmentally friendly? The solution was a sustainable maintenance program.
Our goal when performing sustainable maintenance is two-fold: reducing the cost of maintaining the property and reducing the resource requirements of the property. To do this, we employ every means at our disposal. The turf was mowed at the proper height and the blades sharpened on a daily basis. Clippings were “grass-cycled” when not unsightly and calculated into the nitrogen requirements of the grass. The annual planting area was reduced by over eighty percent. A permanent bed-edge was installed to reduce repetitive edging operations. Drip irrigation was used in the containers. An irrigation audit was performed and the system was only used observationally. A vegetable garden was installed. IPM program visits and annual plantings were scheduled with the regular maintenance crew. Topdressing and over-seeding were performed to add organic matter to the soil and bio-diversity to the grass. An organic fertilizing program was used. Locally produced leaf mulch was installed instead of painted wood chips. One hundred percent of green waste was recycled. Most of the shrubs and all of the perennials were hand pruned to reduce emissions and noise pollution. A lighting system audit was performed to reduce light pollution and energy needs. And finally, a drip line was installed on a rain barrel capturing storm-water and feeding a fountain thus reducing potable water usage and the labor required to fill it.
In the end, this project helped us refine what a sustainable maintenance program should include and going forward, we will integrate the lessons we learned into our regular program.