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Sustainable Landscaping

Why Sustainability?

Below is an excerpt from a 2014 interview by Yale Environment 360 with author Wendell Berry.

e360: You write a lot about local agriculture and the local economy, about local traditions and the importance of connections to the land. Why do you think this is so important?

Berry: That starts with the obvious perception that land that is in human use requires human care. And this calls for keeping in mind the history of such land, of what has worked well on it and the mistakes that have been made on it. To lose this living memory of what has happened to the place is really to lose an economic asset.

I’m more and more concerned with the economic values of such intangibles as affection, knowledge, and memory. A deep familiarity between a local community and the local landscape is a dear thing, just in human terms. It’s also, down the line, money in the bank because it helps you to preserve the working capital of the place.

Sustainability is about Quality.

When most people hear the term Sustainability, often they associate it with things like Green, Environmentalism, Ecological, and so on. And that is appropriate considering the urgency for an Environmental Sustainability movement and the positive impact that it could have on our planet. However, the term has broader and deeper roots than that of the modern association which has been popularized and mainstreamed by our current global crisis. 

The more classic approach to Sustainability revolves around values such as thrift, frugality, and quality. And contrary to how it may seem today, there was a period around the 1950's where nearly all developed countries focused production and consumption on the durability and longevity of goods and services, though not necessarily on environmental sustainability. 


For those familiar with the writing of Wendell Berry, it becomes clear how industrial specialization, and subsequent exploitation, has displaced human connection with land, local culture, and community. More and more young folks of ambition would abandon their small family agricultural operations, seeking greater profit elsewhere in the world of specialization, but still retain an inherent capacity for quality derived primarily by care and nurture. But as expressed in the interview excerpt above, the intrinsic nature of that core value appears to be waning the further removed we become from land and place. As we divorce our connection to land, local culture, and community, we derive quality not organically to serve a purpose, but instead by quantity and to serve ourselves.  

Does a landscape or hardscape company need to be equipped with Robert M. Pirsig's book "On Quality: An Inquiry into Excellence" to create a wonderful landscape for your backyard? No, not really. But to successfully practice a Holistic Land Management approach that can transform a landscape into a beautiful, functional, sustainable ecological paradise - the practitioner ought to have the prerequisite insight on dynamic Quality and a clear vision of how the land base needs to be far into the future, to sustain the production.

That is where Ajna Stonescapes comes in. We are not accredited designers and are not landscape architects, though we do have those resources available in our network. We are, however, Landscape Service providers and Hardscapers that are obsessed with Quality in its fullest form. And that means that our drive for Quality in Landscaping must keep us accountable for our broader impact, must hold us environmentally responsible, and must encourage us to use holistic land management and/or sustainable methods whenever possible. 

Sustainable Hardscaping





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