What do we mean by "Sustainable"

contributed by Sarah Geiger-Behm, Design & Development Coordinator



Maybe we should start by saying what we DON’T mean.


We don’t mean gardens that will look good on the day they’re planted, but quickly outgrow their space and their welcome.


Believe it or not, this happens all the time in the landscaping industry. Sometimes it’s because of poor design or a lack of understanding of the plants, but often it’s actually intentional. That’s right! Many professional landscaping companies, especially those who manage commercial properties, use regular replacement as a core aspect of their business model.


Think about it… If you can sell a client a design that looks great for only a couple of years before the plants start to become overcrowded, stressed or otherwise past their peak, then you can charge to remove the offending plants and sell a whole new design. For some commercial spaces that are looking for a certain aesthetic, maybe that’s a decent arrangement, but for the average homeowner, that’s probably not what you really want for your yard.


Here’s a little thought experiment.. Think of the most amazing garden spaces you’ve ever seen. What came to mind? Was it the French gardens at Versailles? The sprawling grounds of the Biltmore? Or maybe it was something closer to home, like the treasure trove of local public gardens like Ault Park, Eden Park, or the Botanical Gardens at the Cincinnati Zoo. What all these gardens have in common is that they are planted for longevity. They have a well considered, intentional structure that allows plants to grow to maturity while still maintaining a sense of harmony and timelessness, abundance and restraint where the plants just seem to belong where they are.


This is what a truly sustainable garden is, one that can grow and still be right at home. It is also sustainable in the more conventional sense, because such a garden requires less maintenance over time, fewer replacements and fewer treatments and interventions to stay healthy and vibrant.


We also value sustainability in ALL senses of the word and strive to minimize our use of unnecessary chemicals. We look at the big picture and understand your yard is an ecosystem. We practice integrated pest management as a first line defense and consider more aggressive approaches only as a last resort. Whatever we do, we talk about it with you first.


Like all aspects of our services, we work closely with you to determine what is necessary, appropriate and acceptable to you for your garden.


If you’d like to schedule a consultation, please email mears@greengirlgarden.org

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