How Do Landscape Architects Educate Clients On the Importance of Biodiversity in Gardens?

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    How Do Landscape Architects Educate Clients On the Importance of Biodiversity in Gardens?

    Exploring the intricate role of biodiversity in garden ecosystems, we turned to seasoned Arborists and Landscape Architects for their wisdom. From educating clients on native plant benefits to highlighting the critical role of native plants in biodiversity, these six professionals share their experiences and suggestions for fostering a thriving garden environment.

    • Educate Through Native Plant Benefits
    • Biodiversity and Bee-Friendly Design
    • Biodiversity's Dual Benefits for Ecosystems
    • Advocate for Urban Biodiversity
    • Promote Soil and Plant Diversity
    • Highlight Native Plants' Role in Biodiversity

    Educate Through Native Plant Benefits

    As an arborist, I often emphasize the importance of biodiversity in creating resilient and vibrant gardens. In one memorable instance, I worked with a client who was initially focused solely on aesthetic appeal. Through discussions, I highlighted how biodiversity could enhance not just the beauty of their garden but also its ecological health. I recommended incorporating native wildflowers, specifically the New Zealand Kōwhai (Sophora microphylla), known for its stunning yellow blooms and ability to attract local birdlife, especially the Tui. This suggestion was part of a broader strategy to introduce a variety of native plants that support local wildlife and contribute to a balanced ecosystem. After implementing these changes, the client was amazed by the increased bird visits and the dynamic, ever-changing landscape they helped create. This experience reinforced the value of educating clients on ecological gardening practices, showing them how their gardens can play a role in supporting local biodiversity.

    Dylan Heath
    Dylan HeathArborist, Apex Arborists

    Biodiversity and Bee-Friendly Design

    At Raine Garden Design, one of our main aspirations is to create beautiful outdoor spaces that both protect and provide for nature. Part of this role means communicating the importance of biodiversity with our cherished clientele. One particular interaction springs to mind involving an illuminating conversation with a client who disliked bees. You can likely imagine how this could have formed a slight hiccup in the process of creating biodiversity, particularly considering the vital role that bees play in nature’s ecosystem as pollinators.

    The term ‘educating’ almost feels a little directive or formal. However, the process of sharing our knowledge is far from being ‘schooled’ in the importance of biodiversity. Rather, it is a collaborative process where I listen carefully to your needs and gently share the benefits and disadvantages of adding certain elements. The interaction I had with my client required a high degree of sensitivity. I explained how bees play a crucial role in facilitating the fertilization and reproduction of plants. They sustain the life of plants by collecting pollen from one flower while unintentionally transporting this golden dust across to different species.

    After finding out about the importance of these pollinators, we continued to discuss how we could preserve the benefits of bees while creating her dream garden. With a clever bit of design work and shared understanding, we decided on a planting plan that encouraged bees and wildlife in areas that avoided closeness to seating areas where she would likely spend most of her time. This meant she could enjoy the exquisite beauty of her flowers at a distance that made her most comfortable.

    Charmingly, the plant that she ended up adoring most was Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’. An exceptionally beautiful plant that enhances gardens in the form of gorgeous drifts of violet and purple. We had settled on this plant for its complementary role in the color scheme and the ethereal aesthetic she had requested.

    Of course, it’s not only the bees that we rely on for biodiversity; however, the interaction I had with my client was rather memorable. To me, it was a delightful example highlighting the ability for a thriving coexistence between ourselves and nature, even when at first glance it may not appear so simple. It can be truly enlightening to expose the beautifully symbiotic relationship that exists between humans and nature when we take the opportunity to look a little deeper.

    Raine Clark-Wills
    Raine Clark-WillsFounder, Raine Garden Design

    Biodiversity's Dual Benefits for Ecosystems

    It is important to explain to the client the two aspects of added biodiversity: the positive attributes that plants gain and the beneficial impact they have on the local environment. Plants benefit from biodiversity by relying on nature for pollination, seed dispersal, and nutrients. Larger plants offer shade and protection, while smaller plants create habitats for animals that, in turn, support the larger plants.

    Biodiversity is essential for nature as different wildlife species depend on varied habitats and nutrients. Symbiotic relationships within a biodome create a balance that benefits all organisms. Moreover, biodiversity plays a crucial role in disease prevention. By diversifying plant species, the spread of pests and diseases is limited, and the ecosystem can withstand the loss of a particular species without compromising its overall health and beauty.

    Glenn CoxLandscape Architect, Chief Operating Officer, Partner, General Manager, Expert Witness, CARNAHAN LANDSCAPING AND POOLS

    Advocate for Urban Biodiversity

    We need to create awareness in the local area of how we can bring nature back into the home. Gardens in apartment units, commercial spaces, and private residences can develop the microclimate, eventually impacting the environment. Biodiversity, which includes a variety of life on Earth and richness, we have lost over the years of urban growth and industrialization—this change by helping ourselves toward our mother Earth by conserving small spaces and creating a huge impact.

    One plant we can suggest is the money plant (Epipremnum aureum). Example: Create a small green space that will bring fresh air and a good fragrance to your office table, dining table, and anywhere.

    Amrita Kumari
    Amrita KumariSenior landscape architect, khaitb and Alami

    Promote Soil and Plant Diversity

    Plant and soil biodiversity are key aspects of a resilient environment. Working with municipal, commercial, and residential clients, I encourage defining areas of soil and root-zone protection for existing plants to remain and use diverse selections when proposing new plants. Diversity includes considering the taxonomic relationships and geographic origins of plants to develop appropriate plant lists that are adapted for the conditions of the site and enhance the ecological integrity of the project. Relying on a few 'tried-and-true' plants or proposing simplified plant lists increases the likelihood of losing larger groups of plants and, therefore, ecological function, if a pest, pathogen, or abiotic stress affects those few plant selections. Plant inputs from roots to the soil environment support soil organisms from the visible to the microscopic, so plant diversity can affect soil biodiversity. Besides plant relatedness, choosing plant communities that provide a competitive ground cover for weed suppression, year-round interest, and insect resources, and winter structure for wildlife are also considerations for my planting design.

    Grant ThompsonLandscape Architect, RDG Planning & Design

    Highlight Native Plants' Role in Biodiversity

    We always educate our gardening enthusiasts and customers on the importance of native plants and their role in biodiversity. Native plants are key to biodiversity as they attract pollinators, enhance the soil, and remove powerful toxins from the earth, like arsenic and formaldehyde. They are also low-maintenance, making them an easy choice for your landscaping needs.

    Tammy Sons
    Tammy SonsCEO, TN Nursery