A “sustainable” landscape design

A “sustainable” landscape design

The European Landscape Convention, adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 19 July 2000 and ratified in Italy in January 2006, states that everything is landscape.

The landscape becomes the key to the project, the great container that encloses natural goods, cultural goods and social need, which expresses its own rules for sustainable planning on the territory, landscape as a sum of territorial emergencies, in particular, such as nature + culture.

Landscape design, starting from these premises, therefore assumes a very important role.

At an international level, greenery is increasingly perceived as a living space able to fulfill important environmental, ecological, social and economic functions. However, in many green areas, the inadequate quality of plant and maintenance operations often cause excessive plant mortality and, consequently, lowering the benefits provided by the green area itself.

So, in practice, it is necessary to use economically and ecologically sustainable cultivation techniques and precautions that can significantly improve the quality of greenery, thinking the design and the implementation of green, both private or public, like a quality chain, attentive to the needs of vegetable species from planting to the senescence.

It is essential to carry out a preliminary analysis of the potential of the site and the needs of the pre-existing plant species in the project, if present.


Once the plant site has been prepared in order to make it suitable for plant life, adequate species and plants must be selected for bedding out: it is necessary to evaluate the morphological, physiological and phytosanitary characteristics and its fitness, ie the capability of a species / Vegetable individual to provide benefits in the site where it will be planted.

Particular attention and care must be paid to the rooting phase, when the new plants are particularly susceptible to biotic and abiotic stress, water stress, soil compaction, competition with weeds.

Very important is therefore the selection of plant material in the nursery.


Adaptability to climate changes, high ability to seize atmospheric CO2 and to survive in conditions of relative water shortage, structural solidity of foliage and trunk, good tolerance to transplantation, reduced or absent allergenicity and tolerance to pathogens are only the essential requirements to be considered when you choose a species: a selection based exclusively on aesthetic criteria is inappropriate and leads to a decrease in the benefits generated by plants and an increase of maintenance costs.

Considering together agronomic, ecological, functional, aesthetic guidelines, concerning also site adaptability and maintenance requirements, allows you to select the right plant for the right place.

An analogous speech can be made to manage lawn areas: replacing or putting side by side an intensively managed area with a low maintenance area, such as flowered meadows or appropriate groundcovers shrubs, the twofold objective is to reduce drastically the costs of maintenance, water and pesticide consumption and to increase the benefits, mainly in terms of biodiversity, offered by the green area.

The design therefore becomes an indispensable element to obtain a “sustainable” landscape. The choice of essences, the use of proper techniques for planting and the management of irrigation systems are among the main themes that, if carefully and consciously dealt with, determine the good fulfillment of the project itself.

Susanna Dei Rossi

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