Campus Sustainability Office


Click HERE for selected references from the database

A movement toward sustainable landscaping relying on native plants, local ecosystems services, and reduced chemical and fossil fuel inputs has emerged as a holistic, environmentally sound alternative to conventional landscaping (Short video example below).

(French Canadian (subtitles) landscaping using Permaculture principles in Sherbrooke, Quebec):

Écomestible, edible landscaping and urban permaculture from Olivier Asselin on Vimeo.

Pursuing sustainable landscaping is better for the environment, especially biodiversity. The loss of biodiversity through conventional landscaping practices has a profound negative impact on local ecosystems. Whether it be invasive plants taking root and outcompeting native plants leading to biodiversity loss, or the lack of multi-functional multi-use places, the human, chemical, and financial, and other inputs needed to maintain conventional landscaping are exorbitant and unsustainable.


(CC Image of a community-built permaculture demonstration farm on the former Central freeway ramps of San Francisco by Zoey Kroll (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

Moving towards a more sustainable landscaping makes economic, ecological, and socially just sense. If a larger percentage of the money spent by homeowners, businesses, universities, and governments on conventional landscaping was, for instance, spent on perennial edible crops (fruiting trees, nuts, berries, etc.), as well as habitat for insects (flowers, meadows, prairies, etc.), there could be massive relief for basic human needs, biodiversity loss, human cognition of other sustainability issues, biotic resilience, sense of place, social justice, and much more.

Sustainable landscaping can grow native plants, provide habitat for insects and animals, as well as provide aesthetics, food, fiber, and medicine to benefit people. There are many farming, gardening, and landscaping design methods and systems that exist within the holistic or sustainable framework. Each methodology and concept offers insight into the complex issues and multitudes of benefits that can be reaped by moving towards and well thought out and designed landscaping plan. Some of the systems are:

Permaculturenatural landscaping, restoration agriculture, biodynamicsagroecological restoration, biomimicry, wildlife gardeningxeriscaping, and more.

Continue to references

Document Actions

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh — Where Excellence and Opportunity Meet.