A new way of thinking about landscaping home grounds and public spaces
New Hampshire's rapid development over the past four decades has replaced natural plant and animal communities with landscapes that often appear as an afterthought, replicating the same few plants over and over again," says Mary Tebo, UNH Cooperative Extension's community forestry educator.
"This cookie-cutter approach weakens natural communities, reduces plant and animal species diversity, degrades soils and water quality, and destroys the look and feel of the land that form our sense of place. Another result of disturbance is proliferation of invasive plants that crowd out native plants and imperil endangered species. Invasives alone cover more than 100 million acres across the nation and cost U.S. taxpayers billions."
Looking to nature for guidance
"But what if we looked to New Hampshire's natural ecosystems for guidance? By following nature's lead we can create landscapes and gardens that not only add beauty and increase property value, but that also protect soils, promote species diversity, reduce pollution, minimize energy and labor costs, recycle wastes, support the local economy, and look and feel as if they belong in New Hampshire.
"That's the approach we take in our new book, Integrated Landscaping: Following Nature's Lead," says Tebo.
"Integrated landscaping features multi-layered plant systems that grow and change over time," she says. "It proceeds holistically. Every step in integrated landscape, from initial conceptual design, to plant selection, establishment and ongoing maintenance, anticipates or loops back to connect with every other step."
Besides Tebo, the book's authors include landscape designer and permaculturist Lauren Chase-Rowell, geographer and low-impact living advocate Kate Hartnett, and professional artist and teaching naturalist Marilyn Wyzga. The idea for the book emerged after a conference where the four women got to talking about the need for information that would help landowners faced with challenging environments such as wet or droughty areas or small, tight spaces make environmentally sensitive decisions about landscaping.
A grant from the N.H. State Conservation Committee (the "moose-plate" fund) got the book project underway.
A book anybody can use: homeowners, professional landscapers, municipal planners and community developers
"We've created a book anybody can pick up and create a beautiful, multi-functional landscape, whether their space is a postage-stamp garden, a parking lot island, a municipal park, or a large backyard," Tebo says.
"We invite readers to take a fresh look at their existing landscapes by asking questions such as: How does it follow nature's lead already? Does it keep soils covered? Are there any invasive species present? Are any plant layers missing? Plants that provide food or homes for wildlife? Can an individual tree or shrub become the foundation for a multi-layered plant system?"
Lavishly illustrated, Integrated Landscaping features original photos, drawings, and sketches on almost every page to provide clear examples of the concepts presented. The book also incorporates 12 plant-system models that help landscapers and gardeners apply the concepts of layering and visualize how plants can work together in a variety of different low- and high-stress settings.
Integrated Landscaping provides extensive plant selection charts and lists, worksheets for completing a comprehensive site inventory, plus appendices that offer more information on the many topics presented.
The 162-page book costs $20, plus $4 shipping and handling for mail orders
Peek inside Integrated Landscaping: Following Nature's Lead