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Thinking Outside the Box

For eight years, Green City Growers has helped individuals from all walks of life create their very own urban backyard oases, where the aroma of fresh mint fills the air, the sun shines bright, songbirds sing, and delicious produce is ripe for the picking. Now, as the urban agriculture revolution is adopted by the mainstream, we are “thinking outside the (raised bed) box” to imagine bigger and bolder projects.

We see the boldest and innovative ideas as those that borrow most from the natural world. We are pleased to be adding ecological landscaping design to our roster of services for the 2017 growing season, helping to make the backyard oasis that much more special.

What is Ecoscaping?

Ecological landscaping is a holistic approach to sustainable land usage that increases biodiversity, promotes living soils, strengthens ecosystems, and establishes plant communities that mimic patterns and relationships of the natural world. Ecoscaping intergrates landscape architecture, spatial planning and environmental science, and incorporates perennial and native plants, fruit trees and bushes, and high-yield vegetable gardens into a fully customized and aesthetically pleasing landscape.

Ecological landscaping practices:

  • Help to conserve water
  • Provide habitat for birds and other animals
  • Increase porous surfaces for rainwater infiltration
  • Create functional and attractive landscapes
  • Require fewer fossil fuels and less energy for maintenance

By using natural products instead of artificial decorations, and selecting species that serve both an aesthetic and ecological function, ecoscaping is an alternative to harsh land use practices, lessining the detrimental impact on the ecosystem while boosting productivity.

Benefits to a Raised Bed Garden

Ecological landscaping comes with its obvious benefits to native plant and animal species, but it reaps benefits for a traditional raised bed vegetable garden.

Use Less Water 

Ecoscapes are beneficial because they reduce water usage. By planting drought-resistant, low-maintenance plants around your raised bed, they do not only make gardening easier and less time consuming, but they also result in a more natural-looking landscape.

Increase The Yield of Your Garden 

Ecoscapes increase the productivity of your garden because they increase the amount of pollinators that visit your backyard. By making the right plant choices, insects (such as ladybugs and ground beetles) will return the favor by pollinating your fruit and vegetable garden, therefore increasing yields. You’ll also want to select plants that will serve as shelter to help those insects thrive.

Some fruits and vegetables that rely heavily on pollinators include:

  • watermelons
  • cantaloupes
  • cucumbers
  • pumpkins
  • eggplant
  • hot peppers

Also, tomatoes, while self-pollinating, will have a better fruit and seed set when their flowers are surrounded with visiting bees.

Make Your Backyard Functional, Yet Beautiful

Sustainable landscapes, such as ecoscapes result in outdoor environments that are functional, maintainable, ecologically sustainable, more cost effective and aesthetically pleasing. Ready to design your own ecoscape? The Green City Growers design team is eager to help you start planning the customized garden of your dreams.

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