How to bring new beauty to your landscape with old materials?

In the current economy, the term sustainability has become more than just a trendy keyword. The ability to maintain an existence, or even thrive, within the limits of one's existing resources is not only socially and environmentally beneficial, but it is also economically beneficial. Finding new and innovative ways to make something with what you have last, is a key trait of survival and has become an enterprising way to thrive and succeed. Recycling old and used materials does not always make economic sense, and in some cases can be too costly to be profitable. However, when it comes to the subject of home improvement, and specifically improving the beauty of your outdoor living space, sustainable reuse of your durable old materials and resources can not only save you money but can give you a better way to bring new beauty to your landscape project.

Consider the time and resources that are required to grow a tree from a sapling, to a mature and beautiful piece of landscaping. It takes years, thousands of gallons of water and patience to realize the benefits that a mature tree can provide to your landscape. It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte, in the 1800's, instituted a policy of planting trees along French roadsides so that his troops could march in the shade. The irony of this policy, apparently lost on Napoleon, was that it would take years for the newly planted trees to mature enough to provide the shade which he so coveted for his troops. While it is environmentally taboo to cut down mature trees, it is sometimes unavoidable in such cases as building new housing developments, or reutilizing an old plot of land with an already mature and beauty filled landscape to build a new, larger and more modern house.

In many cases the developers of such projects are happy to sell off existing mature landscaping and plant life such as trees, shrubs and perennials to anyone willing to remove the plant material and pay a small fee to the developer. Such opportunities can be easily found by canvassing an older neighborhood known for redevelopment and speaking with the responsible developer or contractor at a redevelopment site.

While most shrubs can be transplanted by hand, larger and more mature trees do require special equipment known as tree spades to dig up, transport and transplant, but specialists providing such services are easy to find and hire. Given that the cost to utilize this method of transplanting mature trees is significantly higher than the cost of purchasing a small sapling, you must consider the benefit and value that the beauty of a mature tree or shrub can bring to your new landscaping. Prospective real estate buyers are known to pay a premium for a beautiful landscape with old and mature trees and shrubs.

Finding old materials to bring new beauty to your landscape is not limited to mature trees and shrubs that are harvested from redevelopment sites. These sites also often can be a source of durable landscape materials such as stone and brick. While many developers undertaking the task of demolishing an old brick home are already familiar with the value of the old brick that may be found on their project site, some are happy to give allow you to remove damaged or flawed brick from their project free of charge. Though it may be cracked, chipped or otherwise flawed, such durable old brick can bring new beauty to a new landscape design when properly utilized by a resourceful landscape designer. Old recycled brick or stone can easily be used to build dry set brick patios and landings, or edging for flowerbeds and beautiful landscaped water features.

A resourceful home landscape designer need not look only at outside resources for the durable old materials that can be used in new landscape projects. Many older homes and real estate properties have hidden treasures already on the premises. Old and weathered flagstone and other decorative rock can often be found. Some sites may have old yet durable and already aged timbers that can be used to build flower beds or planter boxes. If you are looking for an affordable way to bring new beauty to your landscape, the reutilization of old materials can be an economic and design friendly solution for your project.

Written by: Jeff VanMeter, United States

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice