Sustainable Landscaping


Performative theory has been applied to many facets of social theory including economic theory, sexual orientation, and regionalism in architecture. Simply stated, it is the notion that a thing becomes what it purports to be through actions and behaviors. The term is applied here to landscapes in complex cultural environments with environmental features that are used to mitigate or even to enhance the environmental footprint of the landscape. These landscapes are a recognition that designers should no longer separate “natural” areas from the places where people actually live and work. “Idealizing a distant wilderness too often means not idealizing the environment in which we actually live, the landscape that for better or for worse we call home. Most of our most serious environmental problems start right here, at home, and if we are to solve those problems we need an environmental ethic that tells us as much about using nature as about not using it.” Read the complete article and view pictures.



The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction, and maintenance practices. The Sustainable Sites initiative is dedicated to fostering a transformation in land development and management practices that will bring the essential importance of ecosystem services to the forefront. The University of Texas at Arlington’s $78 million Special Events Center and Campus Green Park is one of the pilot SITES project and features native and adapted plants that consume approximately 70% less water than a typical landscape for the area. A dry creek and ecological retention areas manage rainwater and storm water runoff that, ultimately, drains into Johnson Creek. The Park also features a large lawn of drought tolerant grass for student activities, innovative seating surfaces made from seat walls and stone ledges, and permeable paving made from recycled glass. 


The University of Texas at Arlington (UT-Arlington) installed the first extensive green roof in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in April of 2008. The roof was researched, designed, and is being managed by UT-Arlington associate professor and landscape architect David Hopman, ASLA. The approach to the roof is in keeping with the professional priorities of landscape architects and is not a narrowly focused scientific study such as the green roof research at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas or the ongoing studies at The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. The test roof at UT-Arlington is 1000 sf. with approximately 35 species of plants that are heavily biased towards native and near native species. The green roof is divided into two 500 sf. sections. Each section has an industry standard roofing system, irrigation system, and a proprietary soil mix. Detailed information on each of these elements is provided below, including the results of ongoing plant census data. At the time of this writing, the roof is well into a third growing season and is proving the viability of this technology in North Texas. Read the Green Roof Report.