Waste management in landscaping is a very important component of sustainable landscaping. Composting is a natural process of decomposition of organic waste materials which are generated in your garden such as grass clippings, flowers, fallen leaves etc. Composting helps in reducing the amount of waste that enters landfills and water systems and thus is a very important part of sustainable landscaping.
Composting produces organic, rich soil that is beneficial for your gardens and excludes the use of chemical fertilisers. It doesn’t require a great deal of space and you can do it in your backyard in a composting bin and those who live in apartments can do it in small containers in balconies etc.
Instead of using potable water for watering your gardens, it is wiser to use treated waste water (generated from kitchens, showers, wash basins etc). Instead of using conventional mechanically powered waste water treatment plants, you can use a natural system of waste water treatment called Root Zone system. It involves the biological activity among different types of microbes, the roots of plants, water, soil and the sun.
The system consists of reeds, filter-beds containing gravel, sand and soil. Due to its natural processes, there is no need to add chemicals, mechanical pumps or external energy. This reduces both the maintenance and energy costs.
The Root Zone Waste Water Treatment system takes into account the natural slope of the ground, so a motor pump is not required to regulate the water flow. Once the reed plants grow to the required height, usually after the first growing season, they require little or no maintenance. The plant foliage soon blends naturally into the landscape.
Outdoor landscape activities impact the environment and pose a significant threat to air and water quality. Utilising sustainable landscape methods ensures that each does their part in taking care of earth’s resources.
(The writer is a practicing architect based in Panaji. She can be contacted at email@example.com.)