The manicured lawn and neat flowerbed in front of your office might soon receive a natural makeover. Native plants have seen a boom in landscaping as universities, public parks, and homeowners make the shift to restore natural habitats and limit environmentally harmful landscape practices. Corporate offices are joining the movement, the New York Times reports.
Landscape equipment emits about 27 million tons of pollutants each year. Razing natural habitats and replacing them with nonnative plant species can destroy precious ecosystems and threaten wildlife.
But, recognizing the benefits of restoring natural habitats, the demand is growing quickly. A 2021 survey of over 500 members of the American Society of Landscape Architects found that 75% said they had more clients requesting climate conscious designs than they did the year before.
Since 2015, the city of Los Angeles has enrolled 298 commercial, institutional, and industrial customers in a rebate program that offers $5 per square foot to replace turf with drought tolerant and native plants.
A new Nevada law prohibits using water from the Colorado River, which is shrinking at a drastic rate, to irrigate nonfunctional grass. Nevada is also offering a rebate to property owners who switch out their nonnative landscaping for desert plants.
The New York Times article mentions a carbon tracking app, developed by landscape architect Pamela Conrad, that directs landscape planners on how to reduce their carbon footprint. The app assisted close to 800 projects, leading to a 12 percent reduction in the projects’ carbon output, the article reports.
What’s more, these changes also benefit companies, which are spending less on their water bills and maintenance.