This is part two in a two part series of discussions with Roger Cook and Kevin O’Connor from This Old House. Part one focused on the host of This Old House- Kevin O’Connor. Part two focuses on green landscaping techniques from This Old House, Landscape Contractor, Roger Cook.
It’s January and recent weather has been far from the wintry weather we would expect this time of year. Given the lack of snow on the ground, it’s not that far-fetched to imagine a green, thriving lawn and the beautiful landscaping we normally see in the spring. A few more months of winter are in our forecast, but it’s never too early to start planning out your strategy for your landscaping in advance.
I had the opportunity to chat with Roger Cook, Landscape Contractor for the Emmy Award-winning television series This Old House. Roger has served as the shows Landscape Contractor for over 20 seasons and is a wealth of information.
Gardening isn’t always synonymous with a green lifestyle. Roger was eager to share ways to create green landscaping that thrives without the use of pesticides and without wasting precious water. He emphasized that the trick is to work in harmony with nature, not against it.
Here are a few of his tricks:
Call Before You Dig
Even small, shallow excavation jobs can be a risk if you don’t know where underground lines are buried. Call your utility company to let them know you are planning to dig. They will generally send a representative out (free of charge) to verify that it’s safe to dig.
Prepare the Soil
Before you can plant, soil preparation is a must. Soil requirements vary from region to region and a soil test will be needed to find out what it is lacking or not lacking. If the soil is properly prepared then the plants will grow and won’t need as much water and less pesticides to thrive.
Buy Native, Local and in Bulk
Using plants that are native to a region will:
- Decrease the amount of water needed.
- Require very little long-term maintenance if they are planted properly.
Try to buy locally grown plants. Buying local reduces the energy resources needed to get the plant or tree from the nursery to your home. Buy plants in bulk to reduce the need for excessive packaging.
Reuse and Recycle
Save yourself some money if you are thinking about changing around your landscaping-transplant existing trees, shrubs and plants to a new spot. Roger suggests reusing plants at least along the edges of the project.
Build a Raised Garden
Raised gardens have a number of benefits:
- You can control they type of soil used by bringing in your own soil.
- The walls of the garden act as a barrier to pests.
- Less water will be required for the plants to thrive.
- Raised beds will reduce the strain on your back when bending over to pull weeds or plant.
- Raised beds heat up faster in the spring.
What are your tricks for a ‘greener’ landscape?
Thank you to Roger for taking the time to chat ‘green landscaping’ with me.
[Photo credit: Webb Chappell]