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How to Choose an Ecological Landscaper

Ecological Landscapers are professionals who have an understanding of natural systems — geology, climate, soils, plants, and ecology. They incorporate this knowledge with landscape design, construction, and maintenance to make ecologically sound decisions for your property. An ecological landscaper differs from a conventional landscaper through the approach, techniques, and products used while managing the soil, plant life, and landscape.They strive to create gardens in an environmentally responsible way with a goal to improve and enhance the site conditions for both humans and wildlife alike.

An ecological landscaper begins with a study of the entire site, including:

PLANT INVENTORY — Cataloging the plants that exist on the site
SITE LOCATION — Hardiness zone, topography, microclimate, exposure
to wind and sun, and availability of water
SOIL SAMPLES — pH test, soil composition, texture, moisture retention,
and fertility
SITE HISTORY — Recurring problems in the landscape, wet areas, stressed
plants, erosion Ecological landscapers use data from their site analysis to provide a design that is appropriate for the site.They will build healthy soil and choose plants that will grow and thrive, selecting for disease resistance, drought or wet tolerance, and non-invasiveness.

To minimize the use of toxic chemicals, an ecological landscaper will proactively
monitor plant material and soils for key pests and diseases that arise in stressed
situations. Problems are addressed on a case-by-case basis using the solution with
the least environmental impact.

Listen for these terms when
interviewing a landscaper:
Soil tests
Site analysis
Integrated pest management
Compost as soil amendment
Endophytically enhanced grass seed
Mulches of leaf mold or compost
Low impact solutions
Least toxic pesticides

Products used by an
ecological landscape professional:
Insecticidal soap
Horticultural oil
Compost tea
Beneficial nematodes
Low nitrogen fertilizer