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Should Your Landscape Be Luxurious or Sustainable?

It’s possible to have the best of both worlds.

When planning a landscape project, you might be torn between prioritizing sustainability over aesthetics. You know it’s important to protect the environment… yet you’re drawn to the landscapes you see on Instagram that look and feel deliciously luxurious. So how do you choose? 

The good news is, you don’t have to! Luxury and sustainability are not mutually exclusive concepts, so having the best of both worlds is possible. A good landscape designer can help you create a landscape that is luxurious and aesthetically pleasing while integrating eco-friendly practices, leaving you free to include the features you love without guilt or compromise.

What makes a landscape sustainable?

Sustainable landscape design aims to safeguard resources, protect ecosystems and promote environmental stewardship. This can be achieved in a variety of ways:

Water conservation — Sustainable landscapes prioritize water conservation by using water-efficient irrigation systems paired with smart controllers to adjust watering schedules based on weather conditions. They also incorporate water-saving features such as rain gardens and use native and drought-resistant plants that require less water. 

Soil health — Healthy soil promotes plant growth, nutrient cycling and water absorption, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers that can harm the environment, wildlife and human health. Adding organic matter, using compost and getting your soil tested all help improve your soil’s health.

Biodiversity and habitat preservation — Sustainable landscapes support biodiversity by incorporating native plants, which provide food and habitat for local wildlife. Native plants or well-adapted species generally need less water, fertilizer and maintenance. Be sure to avoid invasive species, like purple loosestrife to prevent harm to local ecosystems.

Energy efficiency — Sustainable landscapes consider energy-efficient practices, such as using LED lighting, incorporating shade trees to reduce cooling needs and designing windbreaks to minimize heat loss. They may also integrate renewable energy sources like solar-powered lighting or water features.

What makes a landscape luxurious? 

Luxury landscaping isn’t just about surrounding yourself with beauty — it’s a way to add enjoyment to your life in a way that increases your home’s overall value. Luxury is a feeling that engages the senses, and for anyone who has ever found a chocolate on their pillow, even the smallest details can make a big difference.

Create a cohesive design — Luxurious spaces aren’t haphazard. To convey a feeling of luxury, you need to start with a well-thought-out plan to ensure all elements of your outdoor space work together harmoniously, creating a cohesive look and feel. 

Make it personal — For something to feel luxurious, it should bring you great pleasure and comfort while aligning with your personal tastes and preferences. Having a gorgeous pool installed in the backyard is certainly a luxury, but if you’re not into swimming or hosting pool parties, it will seem more like a chore. 

It’s a good idea to spend some time creating a wish list of features that support your lifestyle and make your heart sing.  

Choose quality materials — Often, it’s not the feature itself that is luxurious… it’s the quality of materials chosen to complete the project. Quality finishes have a luxurious look and feel that cheaper materials can’t achieve.  

And it just so happens that a lot of luxury, high-quality materials are also sustainable, such as natural stone and premium wood — which, as an added bonus, are more durable and offer a high level of customization, allowing for unique and personalized designs.

Splurge on special features — Special features add unique and personalized touches to outdoor spaces, turning a basic yard into something that feels like a luxury resort. 

  • Ponds and water features bring the peacefulness of water to your backyard, and a natural swimming pond is a great alternative to the classic, chlorine-filled swimming pool.
  • Specimen plants and trees add interest and excitement to your gardens.
  • A landscape lighting system combines a variety of landscape lighting techniques, such as uplighting, downlighting and spotlighting to add drama and sophistication to your outdoor areas. Program them to change colours, intensity, and patterns for a dynamic ambiance that is perfect for entertaining or relaxing.

Other examples of special features in luxury landscaping include fire features, outdoor kitchens, putting greens and more! 

Create a landscape that is both sustainable and luxurious

At Vandenberg, we’ve always looked for ways to create a stunning landscape that resonates with our clients’ needs and is in balance with the natural environment. With a little thought, your landscape can feel luxurious while also benefiting the environment — with plenty of benefits for you, too!

Sustainable landscapes:

  • Save you money and resources
  • Tend to be low maintenance
  • Are built to be long-lasting
  • Attract and support wildlife such as butterflies, birds, bees and others
  • Are visually pleasing

As you can see, the luxury lies within the details… and the vision you have for your property. Unless your vision requires a total eradication of nature — in which case, we would not be a good fit for you — our designers can help you prioritize features, choose appropriate materials and incorporate all the meaningful details you desire while still being sustainable and eco-friendly.  

For more information regarding sustainable and luxurious landscape design, simply give us a call or reach out to us to schedule a complimentary consultation.


Written by  Matt Vandenberg