As a landscape design firm, we focus on finding innovative approaches and sustainable solutions when dealing with complex issues in the landscape. Invasive weeds, struggling or inappropriately placed turf grass/lawns, and standing water are just some of the problems we encounter. Our field experience allows us to design custom treatments unique to each site.
Urban and suburban landscapes often require critical thinking about issues of on-site hydrology: frequent standing water, water seepage into the house/garage, or stormwater run-off instead of retaining water on-site via filtration. Light Dark will assess the hydrology of your site and incorporate methods to direct water away from structures through the use of pervious surfaces, rain barrels, rain chains, dry creeks, and rain gardens planted with species that will utilize the water instead of sending it down a storm sewer.
There are many places in the landscape where traditional lawn doesn’t work well – deep shade, slopes, and boulevards (hellstrips) among others. Instead of using inputs in the form of water and fertilizer to try to achieve an enviable lawn in areas where turf will never thrive, we recommend alternative planting schemes that look good, need few inputs, and little or no mowing. As Bob Dahm of Organic Bob Lawncare, one of our long term collaborators says, “the most organic lawn is no lawn.”
Light Dark Landscape is committed to chemical-free, organic landscaping. We have worked with clients to remove both invasive species as well as turf grass.
In a lot of cases sheet-mulching, the use of cardboard and organic materials to smother vegetation, is a great way to get rid of unwanted vegetation while avoiding the unnecessary step of removing organic matter (turf or weeds) only to bring in compost. With sheet mulching we basically build an on-site compost pile, leaving the turf in place to decompose and increase soil quality. After a short period in which the cardboard breaks down–a matter of weeks–we are able to plant the site with the desired planting palette.
We have also harnessed the power of animals to aid us in our work. At a site adjacent to a closed wetland we collaborated with a local farmer to temporarily house woodland pigs within an area overrun with burdock, a noxious weed with a deep tap root. Burdock happens to be a favorite food of pigs, especially the fleshy root; they thoroughly rooted the soil and removed a large percentage of the burdock plants and roots.