ELITE LANDSCAPING BEGAN WITH TWO BROTHERS OVER 30 YEARS AGO AS A SMALL LAWN MOWING BUSINESS and has since transformed into a full-service landscaping company offering landscape maintenance, tree and shrub care, irrigation and drainage, snow and ice removal among many others. More recently the company created a “Go Green” division to focus on sustainability both for their business along with client projects.
“The first thing we did was switch our lighting in the office and out in our yard to LED bulbs so that has really reduced our energy usage and our energy cost,” says Chelsea Feast, head of the Go Green division for Elite Landscaping. “We’re really trying to be more efficient. Currently we’re working on rerouting all of our mowing routes so that we can reduce our gas usage driving between homes.”
Elite is one of just two landscaping companies in the state to be registered as a New Jersey Sustainable Business, which entails businesses to incorporate sustainability and continue to improve sustainability measures in their field. The sustainability aspect of Elite is one of the key separators when it comes to their competition.
“There are a lot of other landscapers out there and we’re hoping that by being a sustainable business, regardless of what service the client is getting, they choose to use us simply because when they do, they know they’re choosing a company that is conscious of doing what’s right for our customers, the environment and our employees,” Feast says. “We now offer organic lawn care service, organic shrub care, rain garden installation, edible and native plant landscape design and much more as part of our sustainable initiatives for customers.”
5 Ways to Make your Landscape More Sustainable
1. Add a rain garden
This is a way homeowners can effectively contain and treat storm water runoff from their property and keep pollutants from storm drains. The water is managed in a beautiful garden filled with native plants, allowing it to filter and replenish ground water. “A rain garden is specially designed based on the amount of runoff it’s going to manage. If you have a 2,000-square-foot roof, the rain garden is designed specifically to manage the amount of water that would run off of that roof in a given storm,” Feast says.
2. Grow edible plants
Incorporating edible plants—tomatoes, lettuces, herbs, among several others— within the landscape design is another sustainable alternative. Feast says home- owners can mix these edible plants within the ornamental plant design. You can create a dense garden bed that saves you money at the grocery store.
3. Use organic lawn care
Traditional lawn care products feed the grass whereas organic lawn care products focus on feeding the soil in addition to the grass. “Organic products are not just a quick fix to get grass to rapidly grow,” Feast says. “Their focus is to improve your soil structure and as you improve your soil health, that will then make your grass healthier, stronger and more stress resistant over time. An organic program is a marathon, it’s not a sprint, but in the long run it creates healthier soil, healthier grass and runoff is reduced since healthy soil and grass absorb more nutrients.”
4. Use a water-saving irrigation system
Having a sprinkler system that isn’t efficient or has an outdated clock system can waste a lot of water (and money), so installing an irrigation system with an updated timer can improve sustainability. The most efficient timers are Wi-Fi connected to the closest local weather station, such as an airport if it’s nearby, and use the weather predictions for water conservation. “If it’s going to rain in the afternoon, you don’t want your irrigation system to run in the morning because you’re just wasting all of that water,” Feast says.
5. Add native plants to your landscape
It’s important to design a landscape with plants native to the United States to help support local wildlife populations. “When you’re planting plants that are exotic, meaning they’re from Europe, Asia or anywhere outside of the U.S., they may look beautiful and they may have certain aesthetic characteristics you’re looking for, but to our local wildlife, they’re foreign,” Feasts says. “Our wildlife is not adapted to be able to eat those plants and ultimately that is the point. The whole ecosystem works together and primarily planting exotic plants disrupts those vital ecosystems. Planting with natives can attract birds and butterflies to your yard while helping their populations survive.”
Berlin | (856) 753-1944 | EliteLandscaping.com
photography by GARY MATTIE
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1 (March 2019).
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