lems. Maintenance staff should be proactive in monitoring plant health, soil conditions, and irrigation systems. Choosing the right trees and shrubs

can also improve operating expenses. De- ciduous trees—those that lose their leaves in autumn—offer year-round benefits. They can shade buildings in summer to reduce cooling costs, while in the winter they allow more sun to shine through. Choosing shrub varieties that grow slowly and don’t branch out beyond their allotted space means less work for landscape maintenance staff. The classic green lawn and formal,

precisely trimmed hedges eat up expenses: Water, maintenance, fertilizers, and even solid waste disposal costs all go up. Having smaller areas of lawn in your landscape design can cut these back.

Water is the new gold Water is an increasingly precious–and expensive–resource in the landscape, no matter what location. Its use and conserva- tion are important factors when planning sustainable landscaping for senior living communities. For ideas on saving water, look to places

with years of experience. In Tucson, Ariz., for instance, water conservation is mandated by local ordinances; using native plants is a necessity. For instance, at Watermark at Continental Ranch, which opened in Tucson in May 2019, plantings are entirely desert natives, such as sage and cacti. Each week, a landscape maintenance company pulls weeds, checks plants, and adjusts the irrigation system. “Water is a precious resource in the

desert and it’s our responsibility to preserve it,” says executive director Gary Hughes. “Using plants that are indigenous to the area and maintaining the high-efficiency watering system installed throughout the community helps ensure costs are kept to a minimum.” Too much water can also increase ex- penses through erosion—and uncontrolled runoff, particularly during construction projects, can even land you a fine. But rain- water management can help save money. Willamette View, a nonprofit CCRC

outside of Portland, Ore., uses green roofs to manage runoff into the adjacent Willa- mette River. In 2019, it transformed a large asphalt parking lot into a series of carports,

Security and greenery at Brightview Woodmont’s memory care terrace, designed by Hord Coplan Macht

for multiple benefits. The roofs are topped with sedum plants

in two-by-four-foot plastic trays. The grow- ing medium absorbs and filters rainwater, letting the rest drain through the trays into the campus drainage system. The green roofs have the side benefit of

creating a better view for residents whose apartments overlook the roofs. Parking areas are protected and shady. The green roofs also help to attract new residents, many of whom have a strong interest in sustainability and environmental conservation. “This is part of our social responsibility, managing runoff from our property,” says CEO Craig van Valkenburg. Green roofs are becoming a popular op-

tion in urban areas for rainwater manage- ment, easing heat, and human well-being. If done properly, green roofs can garner

LEED points and earn grants, rebates, or tax credits in some regions. The downside: A green roof is more expensive to install than a regular roof, and it requires more maintenance. But each community is unique and has its own way to measure the pros and cons of a green-roof investment.

Landscaping for resiliency One of the hottest topics in land manage- ment today is the concept of resiliency. A resilient landscape is one that can adapt

to changes in its environment and regener- ate itself when necessary. Those changes may be gradual and long-term, such as a


shift toward warmer temperatures, or more sudden and short-lived, as in the case of seasonal droughts. Consider the cost of plant replacement

and outdoor infrastructure restoration after an extreme weather event, and the op- erations advantages of a resilient landscape become clear. “A resilient landscape is one that can be

maintained within extremes of heat, storms, flooding and some of the more extreme climates that we have now,” Higgins says. “You hear a lot about that especially near

waterfront properties. Water levels are ris- ing, so your design should anticipate those changes.” A landscape near the shore is more re-

silient when it contains a variety of coastal plants and can withstand high winds, salt and floods, for instance. Resiliency and sustainability go hand-in-

hand. Both rely on the use of native plant material and are most successful when they maintain natural biodiversity. True resilience depends upon creating a complex ecosys- tem—and this may be difficult to achieve in practice. Implementing sustainable principles and preserving native plants and landforms are manageable steps that communities can take toward landscape resilience.

Old faves, new trends Some aspects of senior living landscaping will never go out of style. Walking paths, shaded seating areas, and water features

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