Building A Sustainable Garden

Jun 19, 2023

Sustainability Framework for Sandoval CountySustainability is a critical consideration for those gardening in the high desert southwest. With rising temperatures and less rainfall, the choices we make not only impact our success as gardeners but impact the warming planet. All of us can make a difference through taking simple actions.

Elements of a Sustainable Garden

This sustainability framework describes the basic elements of a sustainable garden. The elements interact with one another in a system that reinforces a healthy, more self-sustaining ecosystem.

Soil. Building healthy soil is a fundamental part of creating a sustainable garden. Soils with organic matter covered in mulch conserve water and lead to healthy plants.

Plants. Choosing climate-ready native plants will help your landscape thrive. Vegetable gardens planted with heat tolerant varieties and proper shade will also thrive.

Water. Efficient use of this precious resource is critical! Rainwater capture and use is also a great strategy.

Pollinators. Pollinators are critical to our food system  – and many are in danger. Doing your part to nurture pollinators will not only build a healthy garden but support our food system.

Individual behaviors. The sustainable garden is further enhanced by the individual behaviors of the gardener. These actions help reduce our carbon footprint and can include things like composting food/plant waste, buying from locally sourced garden centers, or eliminating the use of gas powered lawn equipment.


Do Less, Get More

Traditional gardening and landscaping is hard work that includes constant cleaning, trimming, spraying, digging and beautifying. Sustainable gardening allows Mother Nature’s processes to do the work for us. Some of the ways you can do less and get more in your landscape…

Don’t Work So Hard

Stop Tilling. Healthy, fluffy soil is best maintained without tilling which compacts soil and disrupts microorganisms. “No till” is also easy on the back and less work!

Leave the leaves. Pollinators need food & places to overwinter. Leave leaves and dead flowering plants with seeds to provide pollinator food.


Save Money

Conserve moisture with plant mulch. Select an area of your yard to eliminate weed barrier.  Replace with 3″ of plant-based mulch (i.e., wood chips). You’ll save money on your water bill and build the soil.

Eliminate chemical fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers destroy soil life and pollute our water system.  Look for organic and non-chemical fertilizer options available at most garden centers.


Put Mother Nature to Work

Use smart pest management. Plant to attract beneficial insects and natural predators of unwanted garden pests. Eliminate chemical herbicides & pesticides relying instead on mother nature!

Attract pollinators. Select a pollinator attracting plant and add it to your landscape- in a pot or in the ground. One simple addition can make a difference!!


How to Get Started

We can easily get started on creating a sustainable garden or landscape.

Sustainable Gardening Summary Graphic