• Karyn Richards

Sustainable Landscaping Programme

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Joanne Hilliar of Landscape Design Consultants International has developed a Sustainable Landscaping Programme, which conveys an understanding of how to recognise, practice and create self-sustaining landscapes.

She has run the course in Mauritius, adapting the material specifically for that country, and it will shortly be available in South Africa for broad application within the green industry. To be launched early in 2021, it is specifically designed for management and supervisory teams.

When converting landscapes, people need to practice sustainable landscaping and the programme will guide them in their understanding of this, ensuring that South African landscapes become more selfsustaining in the long term. Purpose of the course The purpose of the course is:

• to create an awareness of the struggle between nature and man for space on the planet, and to preserve these spaces;

• to provide practical information on how to make a difference, even a small one, in our gardens, communities and in the landscapes that we manage;

• to plant more indigenous and endemic self-sustaining vegetation in order to encourage wildlife, save water and enhance climatic variances by creating micro-climates within the landscapes being managed; and

• to ensure that landscapes contribute to the restoration of the natural ecology in any specific area.

The concept and value of preserving biodiversity Biodiversity can be described as the wide diversity of plant, animal and insect species on earth; with healthy eco systems, we can contribute to maintaining this. Each grouping of species has a different genetic make-up to cope with a specific range of circumstances such as climate, food supply, habitat, defence and movement.

These aspects are discussed throughout the programme, becoming a landscaping model for the ongoing management of spaces. With sustainability, soil structures and eco systems rich in diversity stand a far better chance of recovery from extreme climatic changes or degradation.

Original plant species are far more pestresistant than their hybrid counterparts, making it much easier to work with the hardier species as soldier plants within the landscape. Biodiversity therefore adds to the quality of life, providing aesthetically pleasing landscapes which, if well managed, will create a self-sustaining, low maintenance environment, improving as the species become more dominant in the space.

Biodiversity in essence is made up of three related concepts: genetic diversity, species diversity and ecological diversity.

R-L: Tournefortia argentea, Endemic beach planting ensuring no loss of soil, A hotel revamp using endemics from Mauritius

Basic course information

Day One

• The process of biodiversity and sustainable landscaping

• The value of preserving biodiversity/ sustainability

• Causes of biodiversity/sustainability loss

• Case study on learning and discussion.

• Biological aspects of the environment and problem plants (for country of origin) • Sustainability and ecosystems

• Case study and homework on learning and discussion

• Appendices discussion.

Day Two

• Impact of AIPs on the environment and their control (for country of origin)

• Detrimental effects of AIPs on the environment

• Case study on learning and discussion

• Indigenous gardens and insect populations

• Case study and homework on learning and discussion.

• Appendices discussion.

Day Three

• Working with the soil

• Waterwise gardening

• Case study on learning and discussion.

• Design for sustainable landscaping.

• Designing a bio-diverse garden.

• Final case study

Day Four

• Site evaluations

• Describe the process of biodiversity/ sustainability and how you will apply the principles and knowledge learnt on this course to your garden.

• Complete final case study

Programme outcomes

Case study material for participants will ensure the need to fully participate and experience the practical way of applying sustainable landscaping practices. The course outcomes will assist in determining those elements of the landscape where the losses are identified; the implementation of sustainable measures taken to mitigate these losses will also be communicated.

In addition, the outcomes will include the analysis of micro climates that exist within a space and whether they can be developed more efficiently; outcomes will also show where a new micro climate can, in time, be introduced within a space with the correct plant choices.

The outcomes will also focus on alien invasive plants that are detrimental to the biodiversity of a space, as well as how a landscape can affect neighbouring ones that might be practising biodiversity and micro-climate protections.

Following the detailed case studies throughout the three day programme presentation, a fourth day is spent on site, identifying the practices of sustainability within the landscapes to be introduced. This will be followed by a formal case study that candidates will undertake in order to pass mark for the programme.

Mauritius sustainable landscaping programmes

Hilliar has been consulting on a revamp of a large hotel group’s landscaping in Mauritius, creating a garden based totally on endemics that grow on the island. The first in Mauritius, it has produced a completely self-sustaining landscape with no irrigation necessary, using plant material found and propagated on the island. Previously, there had been much emphasis placed on the use of exotics, but there is now positive recognition of the island’s indigenous plant material.

Favourable comments received from the course held in Mauritius include the following:

• I have appreciated the course and have learnt many things about upgrading the maintenance of the landscapes we manage;

• good interaction with the trainer. Sustainability is a big word which has to be communicated to everyone on site, as well as our clients;

• a very well-constructed course and so much to learn about new biodiversity trends in landscaping;

• I obtained a clear understanding of how a sustainable landscape works and how to create this landscape for biodiversity. We can see the passion you have and you have shared this, and your knowledge, with us. Thank you! Now we have a new idea to share with our clients.

For more information visit www.ldconsultantsinternational.com

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