In the July 13 issue of Alaska Airlines Magazine entitled “Home Green Home: the benefits of sustainable living,” Seattle Landscape Architect Brooks Kolb contributed his thoughts on “gardening with a sustainable thumb.” Accompanied by a photograph of Brooks Kolb’s Laurelhurst Hillside Garden, the article summarizes some of the leading principles of energy conservation in residential architectural design as well as landscape design.
Brooks was quoted saying, “There’s always a trade-off or conflict between the goal to be sustainable and the goal to meet your dream of what you want your landscape to be.” Actually, there doesn’t need to be a conflict. Often it’s a matter of communicating to a client how their dream landscape can be simultaneously designed to be sustainable. For example, if someone has their heart set on a stone path and steps and they’ve found a beautiful Chinese granite, it could be a matter of showing them how a locally sourced stone can be just as beautiful. The energy saved by eliminating the need for shipping from halfway around the world can be substantial.
As writer Lyna Bort Caruso summarized it, Brooks’ “design philosophy is to support what clients request, but to also nudge them in a greener direction that can help reduce watering and gardening bills, too. This may include using local materials wherever practical; reducing the size of lawns and leaving grass cuttings behind to serve as a natural fertilizer; installing a rain garden, which allows rainwater to collect and channel off into yards; and avoiding pesticides and herbicides to protect the groundwater from pollutants.”
Here’s a link to the full article: http://www.journalgraphicsdigitalpublications.com/epubs/PARADIGM%20COMMUNICATIONS%20GROUP/ParadigmAlaskaAirlinesJuly2013/#?page=86
Brooks Kolb’s Laurelhurst Hillside Garden, photograph published in Alaska Airlines Magazine