ardscape refers to any solid landscaping surface or structure, from paving and decking to retaining walls and fences. These permanent, human-made elements form the bones of a landscape and are the first thing to be installed in a landscaping project.
"As you think about the design, construction and maintenance of your landscape, consider how sustainable each component is and how it could be modified to be more sustainable," advises A.M. VanDerZanden of the Oregon State University Extension Service.
When choosing materials for your hardscapes, ask these questions:
How well does it incorporate the principles of "reduce, reuse and recycle"? Risa Edelstein, president of the Ecological Landscaping Association, loves the look of antique cobblestones, but was shocked to learn that the ones in her Boston-area stone yard were being transported from India, which wasn't doing much for her carbon footprint. "Ask where the material comes from," says Edelstein, who has since sniffed out sources for har...