Why Sustainable Landscape Design is So Important for Custom Home Builders & Homeowners in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT

Written By: Mason Shaffer

Sep 21, 2020 9:20:23 AM

A beautiful landscape is an integral part of the custom home building process. Homeowners want the “total package,” and even the most amazing home will fall short if the landscaping is subpar.

But beyond aesthetics, homeowners are also seeking a sustainable landscape.
Just like they care about building a green, sustainable home that is high performance and energy-efficient, they want a sustainable landscape design that they can be proud of. A sustainable design evaluates all aspects of the landscape with the objective of reducing its negative environmental impact. It includes features that are beneficial to the natural world while being beautiful at the same time.

Successful custom home builders in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT know that a focus on sustainable landscape design is important. Here’s why.

We Only Have One Earth and People Want to Take Care of It

Without a doubt, a driving factor in the importance of sustainable landscape design is that people care about the earth. They care about reducing their carbon footprint so they want a home, and a landscape, that reduces their negative environmental impact. Put simply, there are a lot of people out there who want to be good stewards of the environment.

At Blanchford Landscape Group, this is something that we understand whole-heartedly as we are a group of people that got into the Green Industry because we love the natural outdoor environment. We also want to do what we can to preserve it which is why sustainable landscaping is at the core of what we do.
Sustainable landscaping in Montana
This isn’t how every landscaper operates. In reality, a lot of times it’s easier to not practice sustainable landscaping. It’s faster and there’s less of a learning curve. We’re constantly learning new ways that we can improve—such as the emergence of robotic mowers. But keeping up with new technology, even if it ultimately makes our industry better, absolutely takes an investment of time and money.


At Blanchford Landscape Group, we think it’s worth it. Here are just a few ways that we’re creating sustainable landscapes for our clients.

We’re Paying Attention to Water Conservation

One of the best ways to practice sustainable landscaping is to minimize water waste. Excessive water usage is one of the biggest downfalls in landscaping. It can take a lot of water to keep a landscape healthy.

That’s why we’re incredibly conscientious about how much water will be used in our designs.

We try to minimize wasteful spraying by using drip irrigation systems whenever we can in plant beds. We are also utilizing smart controllers on our irrigation systems so that real-time adjustments are made with the weather. The last thing that we’d want is for a homeowner’s irrigation system to turn on in the middle of a rainstorm. That’s as wasteful as it can get.
smart irrigation controller
We’re also using native plant material that needs less water to look and perform its best. This goes a long way in having a sustainable landscape.

And on top of all that, we’re designing and installing rainwater harvesting systems for those who are truly committed to creating an optimally functioning landscape that doesn’t require “extra help.” There are many homeowners who love the idea of collecting and storing their own water for usage on their property.

We’re Reducing Grass Areas in our Landscape Designs

Although people do like turf areas, they can demand quite a bit of upkeep. Not only do they need to be regularly irrigated but they require ongoing mowing. If mowed by a professional that also means the fuel involved in bringing a crew back and forth from the property.

That’s why we’re reducing turf areas for homeowners who care about sustainable landscaping. In their place, we can plant native type grass and wildflower meadows which, once established, require very little maintenance or irrigation.

On top of that, we are also selective about installing only drought-tolerant grass types to further reduce maintenance in those lawn areas.

Native grass and wildflower planting for a sustainable landscape

We’re Choosing Appropriate Plant Material for the Microclimate of the Site

Choosing the right plant material is also incredibly important when it comes to a sustainable landscape. Obviously, it’s important for water conservation. But it also has to perform well in the site’s specific microclimatic conditions as a whole.

When choosing plant material for a landscape design, we’re taking into account everything from elevation to sun to soils, wind, and what native plants are already thriving there.

There’s a lot involved in making these decisions and it takes a strong horticultural understanding. But it’s ultimately these choices that will reduce the long-term need for maintenance and enhance sustainability as a whole.

As an example, there are many ornamental grasses that can make an attractive choice and only require annual cutbacks. Similarly, certain perennials can be great aesthetic selections and may only need to be cut back once (unless you want to keep them blooming by having them deadheaded). We also mentioned how choosing native plants, which are already adapted to the microclimate of your site, is key.

A Sustainable Landscape Looks Beautiful, Too

While the driving factor in sustainable landscaping might be a reduction of one’s carbon footprint, at the end of the day, homeowners will want their property to look great. Fortunately, sustainable landscaping is also beautiful.

For one, because sustainable landscapes are designed to thrive in the local conditions, they’re going to perform really well (and without tons of extra maintenance work). Optimal performance is ultimately a primary goal of the landscape as nobody wants to have to keep replacing dying plant material.

But sustainable landscaping is also aesthetically pleasing because it “belongs.” When we take our cues from nature, the landscaping blends seamlessly with the natural surroundings. That looks a lot better than plopping landscape elements that don’t fit into a natural space.

A lot of people buy homes in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT because they love the beauty of the natural environment. Therefore, they want natural landscapes that enhance that beauty and allow them to enjoy it more completely. When we work with what’s already there, the end result looks better.Sustainable landscaping using the natural environment to design

A Sustainable Landscape Keeps Homeowners Ahead of the Curve

Another aspect of sustainable landscaping that homeowners and builders both appreciate is the fact that it keeps them “ahead of the curve.” We all must do our part in protecting the earth and there could come a point where some of these changes are mandated. For example, with water being such a precious commodity, we might only see further regulations or requirements down the road when it comes to preserving it.

Homeowners and home builders appreciate when a landscape design is already sustainable. It’s easier to work many of these elements into the design at the onset than it is to make changes later.

Because of that, custom home builders in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT also know that sustainable landscaping can help them to sell more homes. Potential home buyers would prefer to work with a builder who is ahead of the curve rather than behind it.

Sustainable Landscaping can be Cost-Effective

Although we do not think that cost is a driving factor in why homeowners choose homes with sustainable landscapes, it is worth mentioning that this is another benefit. Oftentimes, sustainable choices may be more costly upfront but save money in the long run.

For example, a smart irrigation system is more expensive to install than a traditional system, however, the technology that it incorporates absolutely helps homeowners to save money on their water bill over time.

Choosing plants that do not need as much maintenance is also a cost-effective practice. It won’t require as much upkeep and care to keep these plants looking their best. On top of that, if you had plant material installed with no attention paid to the surrounding environment, you might need to keep replacing it. That is both costly and wasteful.

Transitioning from Sustainable Design into Sustainable Maintenance

Sustainable landscaping all starts with a sustainable design. Smart choices need to be made that will ensure the property is functioning optimally without excess work to achieve the results you’re after. These smart choices equate to a reduced environmental impact.

But it’s also important to mention that while it starts with design, sustainability should also be practiced in maintaining the property in order to gain the full benefit. After all, if you were to go through the trouble of having a sustainable landscape design created but then use ongoing maintenance services which do not keep sustainability in mind, some of those benefits can be negated.

At Blanchford Landscape Group, we help our clients transition seamlessly from a sustainable design into ongoing sustainable maintenance through our Garden Services program.
Garden services team providing sustainable maintenance
Some of the ways that we are practicing sustainable landscaping are through the use of electric power equipment (as opposed to gas-guzzling alternatives), with the use of special eco-friendly products that work with the natural environment, and by practicing eco-friendly landscaping methods (such as mulching or using compost).

As we mentioned, we’re also making a big push for robotic mowers so that we can reduce our company’s carbon footprint by implementing a fleet of robots that “live” on our clients’ properties and handle daily mowing for them. Our article on robotic mowing explains in greater depth the many ways that this is better for your lawn and for the environment at large.

Partnering with a Landscape Pro that Puts Sustainability Front and Center

Just as we are known for having long-term relationships with the homeowner clients that we work with, we also value long-term relationships with the custom home builders who hire us. We understand it’s your reputation on the line. If you hire a landscaper to create a sustainable landscape then you want to know they're going to deliver.

Similarly, if you’re a homeowner in the area who wants to know that their home builder has found a landscape professional that truly cares about the environment, then you deserve that confidence. You want peace of mind that you’re not only going to have a beautiful landscape but one that is sustainable, too.

When you partner with Blanchford Landscape Group, you can count on us. Creating sustainable landscapes is our passion. We know that the end result is a direct reflection on you (and your commitment to the environment) and we’re there to support it. We love building partnerships with custom home builders in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT, and join forces in doing good for the earth. Together we can do great things!

If you’re a custom home builder in the Bozeman or Big Sky, MT area, and would like to learn more about how we can help on your next project, let’s connect. We love partnering with winners and would love a chance to succeed together.

Let's Connect

Topics: Landscape Design, Landscape Maintenance, Custom Home Builders

Posted by Mason Shaffer

Mason has earned both a degree in Ornamental Horticulture and a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture prior to joining our team in 2011. Outside of work, you will find Mason spending quality time with his wife and two little girls. They will likely be exploring the outdoors, camping, fishing, golfing, planting, or just playing in the dirt.

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