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Sustainable Urban Landscape > Sustainable Principles


Don Schultz

Phone: (619) 660-4023


Sustainable urban landscaping

Sustainable practices

Sustainable Development and Low Impact Development

Both Sustainable Development (SD) and Low Impact Development (LID) are concepts that influence landscape practices. The practice of Sustainable Development encourages resource use to meet human needs while preserving the environment.

Sustainable Development provides that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come and are based on the criteria that societies need to manage three types of capital (economic, social, and natural).


Department of Environmental Resources- Low-Impact Development Design Strategies- An Integrated Design Approach



Sustainable design recognizes the special qualities of each region and adapts landscape practices so that the site landscape and maintenance will conform to the regional context. These regional qualities are important in the design, installation, and care of the landscaped site. A balance should be struck between what is good for our individual landscape and what is good for our region.

Regional Climate Factors
  • Temperature ranges and cycles
  • Rainfall amounts and seasonal patterns
  • Typical wind direction and strength
  • Seasonal sun angle
Regional Factors Influence
  • Location of exterior use areas
  • Percentage of paving vs. planting
  • Plant and construction materials selections which are appropriate to the site
  • The amount of additional irrigation needed



The widespread use of economically and environmentally costly landscape practices are damaging. Tons of waste materials are cleared from landscape construction sites, are hauled away to landfills, or are burned. Trees, shrubs, brush, lumber, asphalt, and concrete, for example, are removed from existing sites to make way for new construction.

These costly practices can be reduced or eliminated with updated landscaping methods, such as:

  • Reduction, reuse, and recycling of waste materials to reduce waste and pollution.
  • Conserve resources by retaining existing plantings when possible.
  • Select tools and equipment for performance, durability, and low-energy usage.
  • Choose environmentally preferable products like recycled-content and biobased products.



If a landscape can be identified as sustainable, then it should provide more commodity or usefulness by requiring lower inputs than traditional landscapes.


  • Energy
  • Water
  • Fertilizer

And we can recognize a sustainable landscape if it produces fewer outputs:

  • Air and noise pollution
  • Surface water runoff
  • Green waste


Environmental Protection Agency


Career Technical Education

This web site is supported by Carl D. Perkins VTEA IC funds through the System. Office, California Community Colleges,
Grant #08-C01-020

Revised  June 05, 2014
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