Principals of Ecological Landscaping
Emphasizing Native Plants for Food Webs - Native plants play a vital part in promoting biodiversity, along with their valuable ornamental characteristics, as they support other local species and are part of creating a healthier environment. Leaves of native plants “eat” sunlight, beneficial insects eat leaves, pollinators transfer pollen while drinking nectar, bird species feed on these insects, and fallen leaves feed the soil – the circle of life. Like an artist who has a knowledge of all colors for art, Convivial Landscapes has a vast knowledge of native plants, as well as the species they support. In times when it is appropriate, Convivial does selectively use non-native species.
Convivial especially draws from the native plants and biodiversity research of Dr. Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware. (www.bringingnaturehome.org) For example, Dr. Tallamy’s research demonstrates that native oaks of the Southeast support around 450 different species of butterfly and moth caterpillars. Blueberry shrubs, native to the eastern U.S. support almost 200 different species of caterpillars. These caterpillars are foundational species of food webs in habitats.
Providing Space for Birds & Pollinators - Ecological landscapes host significant bird and pollinator populations. Along with ecological health, these species provide endless hours of environmental education, enjoyment, and inspiration. Many of Convivial’s clients become amateur bird and insect watchers; even whole families enthusiastically become new naturalists while enjoying environmental stewardship of these species in their own yards. Convivial encourages participation in a variety of community citizen science programs that advance the scientific knowledge of our ecosystems.
Maintaining Living Soils – Soils should be full of life in healthy landscapes too. Complete coverage with various types of mulch is the best way to conserve water for plant and soil life, as well as keep out weeds. Layers of organic mulch make maintaining a garden easier since it won’t need to be watered or weeded as frequently. Convivial even uses fallen leaves in plant beds and borders as ornamental mulch to build soil layers, just like Mother Nature does annually.
Recognizing that Water is Life - All Life in a landscape depends on water. Ecological landscapes employ ornamental methods of preserving water on site such as rain gardens, bioswales for stormwater, bird baths, water gardens, and smart-technology, efficient irrigation systems.
Displaying Beauty All Year Round - Landscapes should be beautiful all four seasons of the year. With proper plant selection, Convivial Landscapes ensures your garden will always maintain visual interest, but also support local wildlife throughout the year. With thoughtful attention to the site, we find the unique balance between beauty and the natural environment in landscapes across the Metro Atlanta Area.
Enhancing Landscape as Living Habitat – Our landscapes are either healthy habitats and promote biodiversity (more pollinators and birds), or unhealthy and decrease biodiversity (less pollinators and birds). As such, Atlanta landscapes are part of the temperate forest bioregion of the Piedmont province. With woodland layers of overstory (large trees), understory (small trees, large shrubs), shrubs, perennial flowers, and groundcovers, landscapes as habitats promote healthy food webs sustaining a huge variety of life. Convivial uses the latest scientific research and best practices to create and enhance these landscape habitats.
Minimizing Environmental Toxins - Ecological landscapes minimize and eliminate pesticide chemical sprays. Not all, but many landscape pesticides decimate pollinators, living soils, stream water, and bird species. Ecological landscaping provides the expert knowledge for the judicious use of chemicals in landscapes, such as organic fertilizers, etc. As a priority, Convivial works with clients towards best management practices for mosquito control. The conventional practice of broadcast spraying with pesticides for mosquitoes eventually destroys habitats and species. Alternative green and non-toxic management practices exist, such as mosquito traps specifically developed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Also for reducing and eliminating environmental toxins, Convivial Landscapes uses professional-grade, battery-powered weed trimmers, edgers, and blowers, reducing equipment emissions and noise on site.