Dubai is a land of extremes, from the towering skyscrapers to the searing heat during the summer. This challenging environment presents an interesting obstacle for those who want to do outdoor landscaping. During the peak of the summer season, temperatures can reach as high as 45 degrees Celsius – combine this with the dry and humid atmosphere, and you have an environment that can make any imported plant or shrub wilt.
Enter sustainable landscaping. Sustainable landscaping is a scope of landscaping practices that incorporate prevailing environmental factors to create an outdoor environment that benefits the surrounding ecological system as well as its inhabitants. There are four basic principles upon which a sustainable landscape design is founded.
Principle #1: Water is an Invaluable Natural Resource
Considering the largely arid environment of Dubai and the rest of the UAE, water is a scarce and invaluable resource. With this in mind, it is essential to integrate designs that maximise water resources. This includes choosing plants that are native to the local environment – plants that are naturally capable of withstanding extreme levels of heat, dryness, and humidity. Irrigation is also an important concept within this principle. It is important to make sure that the irrigation system is fully maximised, so all the plant life in the landscape are watered on a regular basis.
Principle #2: The Soil is a Valuable Element of the Ecosystem
Just as water is an invaluable resource, so is the soil. The soil is foundation of the plant life, trees, and shrubbery. As such, it is important to take good care of it. Prevent soil runoff and erosion by making use of perennial plants that have deep roots to keep the soil tightly packed together. Adding grasses to your landscape can also help greatly in preventing erosion. Furthermore, these could serve to add texture to the landscape, and introduce a sense of variety. A grass cover can work as the perfect backdrop for blooming plants and shrubbery.
Principle #3: Choose Native Plants
Plants that are native to the environment are conditioned by nature to withstand the prevailing local climate. These types of plants are likely to live longer than imported plants. If you want to build an eco-friendly, sustainable landscape, choosing native plants is the way to go. In some cases, your outdoor landscape already has plants. Instead of uprooting them to make way for imported plants, consider building the landscape around them. Doing this will allow the native plants to flourish and grow.
Principle #4: Conserve Your Resources
The concept behind a sustainable landscape is creating a design that minimises negative environmental impact, maximises available resources, and appeals to the aesthetic sense. One of the ways to reduce the negative impact of landscaping is to recycle construction waste. Instead of disposing excess waste material, try to incorporate it in the design of your landscape. Choosing plants of the appropriate size and type is another way to promote conservation. This way, you are not using more natural resources than necessary for maintenance.
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