Sustainable approaches to sourcing hard landscaping
There are so many things that we could do when considering the design of hard landscaping in our designs and here are just a few to consider linked to sourcing of materials that LCGD tutors recommend.
1. Where does the material come from? Local products require less transport, chain of custody/forest stewardship is easier to establish, and local products have less impact on greenhouse gas emissions and other negative environmental impacts.
2. Avoid rainforest timber. (There is always a sustainable replacement.)
3. Use plantation grown timber or bamboo from a sustainable source.
4. Look for radially sawn timber, as this technique produces more timber per log.
5. Where do those pebbles come from? Are they mined without control? Or are they at least mined from a controlled source locally.
6. Consider recycled products where possible (eg reclaimed bricks.)
7. Consider recycling existing material (e.g. concrete can be reused on site.)
8. Consider the urban heat island effect and wind-turbulence factor. The greater the proportion of hard surfaces you build, the lower the heat absorption by vegetative bio-mass that can occur and the harsher the wind-factor may be.
9. Factor in the amount of hard surface cleaning and maintenance you wish to do. Outdoor walling and decking can require regular cleaning, sanding and staining.
10. Use permeable surfaces and rainwater capture systems.