Dense Diverse Planting

Plants make

the difference!

 

The number one feature of a Regenerative Landscape is dense, diverse planting. We know that soil can be a real tool to mitigate climate change. Plants build soil better than any other method. The interaction of living roots with soil biology is crucial to building vibrant, healthy, resilient soil.

It is plants that give all the other benefits of a healthy landscape:  

  • Pollinator and wildlife habitat

  • Improved drainage and reduced erosion

  • Microclimate regulation

  • Reduced pollution

  • Increased organic matter

  • A sense of connectedness to nature

 

How densely should beds be planted?

Our guideline for Regenerative Landscapes is to plant bed spaces to where they will be at least 90% covered when the plants reach full size. Even better is to plant layers of tall and short plants to cover the bed spaces multiple times.

 

What are the landscape benefits of dense, diverse planting?

A densely planted landscape (with the right kind of plants!) can be easier to maintain than other types of landscapes. Dense plantings:

  • Smother weeds

  • Require less (or no) mulch

  • Need less fertilizer

  • Can be chemical-free

 

A plant-focused landscape design can also be less costly to install than one that is mainly hardscapes. While patios and structures can be incorporated into a regenerative landscape, a lot of cost can be saved by focusing on plants.

 

How do plants regenerate soil?

Plants remove CO2  from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. This process builds organic matter and feeds soil biology. This can create a positive spiral of healthier, more resilient, plants which grow better and then can remove even more CO2 from the atmosphere.

 

One of the newer discoveries about soil is that living roots secrete carbon-rich substances. These are fed to soil microbes and fungi in exchange for nutrients the plants need. The soil biology uses this carbon-rich food and helps store it long-term in the soil. Sites around the world have shown huge increases in organic matter (which is 50% carbon) over a relatively short period of time. This is one of the most important ways to fight climate change and build soil at the same time. 

 

This means that the more plants there are in a landscape, the more carbon gets pumped into the soil. On the other hand, a sparsely planted bed gives little to the soil. Bare soil can be maintained by adding mulch or compost, but this is not as beneficial as covering the soil with plants.

 

Diversity is also crucial to soil biology. Different plants feed soil life in different ways, which can create synergistic effects that further enhance the positive spiral.

 

A self-sustaining ecosystem

In short, we want to create plant-focused landscapes that are beautiful, functional, and help create a positive spiral of soil health creating healthier plants which creates even healthier soil.  

 

We would love to work with you to design and install a Regenerative Landscape!

                                           Contact us at 541-754-1439 or info@gaia-landscapes.com

© 2018 Gaia Landscapes, Inc.