Serving the Naperville Community
The changing climate is one of the biggest problems in the world and individual humans can actually do quite a lot to help fix it. One of the most important steps homeowners can take is to adopt an ecologically-conscious landscape design. That doesn’t mean that anyone needs to turn their landscape into a barren moonscape filled with succulents. A few tweaks can make a huge difference. Here are four eco-friendly landscape design ideas for Naperville, IL homes.
Related: 4 Landscape Design Ideas for Warm and Welcoming Backyards in Wheaton and Hinsdale IL Areas
Permeable Pavers for Controlling Runoff
In a natural environment, rain seeps into the ground and any excess flows downstream on the surface. Solid surface driveways (asphalt and concrete) decrease the surface area of the ground that can absorb rainwater and increases runoff.
Permeable pavers are a good solution for this issue as they let rain absorb between the joints into a special substrate so water enters the ground naturally. Permeable pavers can be used on driveways, walkways, patios, and pool decks, and come in a variety of gorgeous colors, textures, and styles.
LED Landscape Lighting
A few steps can dramatically reduce your electrical use while you enjoy an attractively and safely illuminated landscape. The first step is to replace incandescent or halogen fixtures with low-voltage LED lighting. The second step is to create a strategic lighting plan to illuminate an area in ways that don’t destroy the nighttime appeal, yet provide plenty of safety and activity-appropriate lighting. Old-school floodlights mounted on the side of the house produce a wide and inconsistent spectrum of light from bright and direct glares to harsh and contrasting shadows. However, strategically-placed LED lights along a path or set into a masonry retaining wall will never interfere with eyesight and create a safe and pleasing ambiance and completely change the feel of your backyard.
Xeriscaping with Native Plants
Xeriscaping is rooted in being in harmony with nature and making the conscious choice to populate your landscape with an array of beautiful native plants that are perfectly suited to thrive in your ecosystem. Native plants are adapted to harsh winter and summer conditions and don’t need more water than what the region provides in rainfall and snowfall.
Many homeowners are replacing sections of their lawn with natives - effectively eliminating the “food desert” expanses of grass that provide no habitat for local wildlife.
More Living Space, Less Work
If you don’t have a need for a lawn - for example, if you don’t have kids or a dog - then you could consider expanding the size of your outdoor living space using permeable pavers and replacing part of your lawn with xeriscaping.
First, you’ll use your backyard more if you have an attractive and functional space to hang out and entertain in; and second, you’ll reduce your water use as well as the time needed to maintain the landscape. As well, if you make your backyard an attractive place for local wildlife and pollinators, you’ll have a much more vibrant place to call your own.
Decrease water use while encouraging a lush and beautiful landscape with a professional irrigation system. Automatic timers and settings can be calibrated for specific plants in each location, all in a system that stays out of sight, out of mind. This eliminates the need for waking up super early in the morning to water the landscape before the daytime summer heat bears down. While drastically reducing the amount of water needed for proper irrigation, you can sleep in or focus on the next great eco-project!
Related: 3 Landscaping Tips to Refresh and Rejuvenate a Backyard in Hinsdale IL and Wheaton IL Areas
The right driveway material and design can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your property, reduce maintenance efforts and replacement costs, and even lower your home’s eco-footpring. If you are looking to spruce up your driveway this year, here are 6 driveway trends for 2021 in Wheaton and Hinsdale, IL, areas.
Related: Are Your New Landscape Design and Driveway Winter-Ready in Hinsdale IL
Lighting your way home is a nice welcoming touch. Give your driveway a modern flair by installing inlaid lighting along the edges of the driveway - completely unobtrusive at night and gently guiding the way after dark, it’s a chic alternative to the single light-on-a-post from the last century.
You can also disguise light fixtures by installing them in masonry retaining walls, and lining one side of your driveway with a low wall gives it a chic “welcome to the castle” look that boosts curb appeal.
Personalized Paver Layouts
The beauty of modern design is that you can do whatever you want when it comes to using materials. A random paver laying pattern will give your driveway a relaxed and fresh look. If you want to make a statement, a bold geometric or asymmetrical pattern will add a modern touch and individual flair.
Or, opt for a minimalist look, with a poured concrete driveway with subtle accent pavers that add style. Jazz up an asphalt driveway with the addition of a cobblestone apron at the entry to the driveway (and echoed with a cobblestone walkway).
Driveway Heating Systems
Pavers, and even asphalt and concrete, can be made much safer and virtually maintenance-free in winter with the installation of a driveway heating system (this can be done while installing a new driveway).
You may have seen concrete or PVC grid systems that you can lay on a driveway and fill with gravel or grass. These are effective at channeling rainfall and snowmelt into the ground. They are ideal for rural driveways but leave something to be desired in terms of design, making them less than ideal for suburban applications.
A great way to minimize runoff and naturally replenish the aquifer is to use permeable pavers. These are concrete pavers that look just like any other concrete paver and can mimic the look of brick, cobblestones, flagstone, or granite. The joints between the pavers are larger, and filled with a permeable jointing sand; and, the driveway is set on a special substrate that encourages water to permeate through to the soil below.
Aside from the eco-friendliness of these systems, paver driveways are attractive; and if you’re concerned about damage from snowplows, you can install a driveway heating system that will eliminate the need for plowing; and any melting snow will seep into the ground rather than overwhelming the municipal storm drain system.
Ornamental trees such as magnolia, cherry, or maple lining the driveway give your driveway a “designed” look that’s eye-catching and glamorous - even when the trees are still young. Tall and stately cedars give your driveway a luxe Mediterranean villa appeal. Be careful to plant spreading trees far enough away from the driveway to avoid scratching vehicles.
Natural cobblestones have been used for thousands of years - in fact, there are Roman cobblestone roads in Europe that are still in use today! While the initial investment is higher, and you’ll need to invest in a driveway heating system to avoid scratching the cobbles with plows, it’s a one-time investment because cobblestones are virtually indestructible, not to mention beautiful!
Related: Why Choose Pavers Over Asphalt for Your Naperville, IL, Driveway