The Naples Botanical Garden is Sustainable Landscape Design
August 29, 2014
A “staycation” is when a person or family takes time off to enjoy local day trips. Living in Southwest Florida every weekend could be considered a “staycation” of sorts. There is so much to do in our community that is just a short car ride away. The beaches, parks, museums, water parks, and theatres are just a few of the reasons Lee and Collier Counties are huge “staycation” destinations.
The Naples Botanical Garden knows a little bit about the “staycation”. They are often a destination for locals and visitors alike looking to have a unique time away from the stress of day to day life. The Naples Botanical Garden is filled with sustainable landscape design, exotic plants and wildlife. The natural ecosystem they have developed is absolutely breathtaking. Founded by a group of eight Naples residents in 1993, the Gardens have become an extraordinary 170 acre site of natural beauty.
The Naples Botanical Garden is not only naturally beautiful, but is sustainably designed as well. A sustainable ecosystem supports itself. Each different part works together to provide the necessities for a natural habitat. The landscape garden design was created to mimic nature as much as possible. “In the next twenty years, 2.6 million acres of Florida land are likely to be converted to urban use, making Southwest Florida’s remaining green spaces all the more precious to future generations. Naples Botanical Garden’s 170 acres of land have been saved from urban development forever, thanks to hundreds of visionary individuals who overcame countless obstacles to secure the site and dream of the possibilities for our community.” Utilizing sustainable green engineering practices throughout the garden helps to minimize human impact on the environment.
When developing the plans for the new gardens and facilities, the Board of Directors focused on creating a more ecologically responsible and sustainable design. The new buildings were designed to meet the criteria for LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification. “For a building to achieve LEED Certification, they must meet the standards for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.” The Garden’s future Visitor Center has been designed with the best sustainable materials and techniques. This includes rainwater collection tanks for irrigation, building placement to provide the most useful shade for the garden, and using recycled materials/wood throughout the construction process.
Creating a sustainable water system for the Naples Botanical Garden is of the utmost importance. All life starts with water. The gardens need water and sunlight to prosper, along with the nutrients from the soil. The Naples Botanical Gardens utilize stormwater treatment and smart watering techniques. Stormwater treatment is integrated into every aspect of the gardens. “The multi-award winning system incorporates bio-swales, raingardens, ponds, and the Smith River of Grass, a tribute to the Everglades”. Smart watering is the gardens sustainable irrigation system. A smart watering system tracks data from rainfall and calculates when plants need more or less irrigation to keep the plants healthy.
Creating a sustainable community is not easy. There are many different parts to each specific ecosystem that must provide what we need. The Naples Botanical Gardens is not only a must see destination for “staycationers” and visitors alike, it’s a great example of what creating a sustainable ecosystem can do to keep our environment green and healthy.