Urban Landscape Sustainability program now available in Colorado Email
Written by Colorado Green Now   
Tuesday, September 12, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Throughout Colorado, water shortages are impacting how urban landscapes are cared for and the cost of landscape maintenance. To better steward water resources and provide high-quality, conscientious landscape maintenance, Associated Landscape Contractors (ALCC) of Colorado offers Sustainable Landscape Management (SLM) certification.

The SLM program provides foundational education about the natural and constructed systems that comprise the urban landscape, as well as how the different systems relate and the interdependence that exists between them. Topics include soil, irrigation, planting trees and integrated pest management.

Because the urban landscape is an interdependent system, the context of one element is dependent on the success of many others. For example, a healthy tree depends on proper planting, staking, irrigation and soil conditions. Each element needs attention and awareness so the overall landscape can be healthy, water conscious, long lasting and beautiful. Teaching professionals about what the elements are and how they affect one another generates a more holistic awareness, allowing them to make good decisions in the field.

Janet Waibel, a registered landscape architect at Tempe, Arizona-based Waibel & Associates Landscape Architecture, began preparing standards for care in Arizona during the economic downturn of 2008, when her workload dwindled, and she had time to write. Her goal was to share better ways to take care of Arizona landscapes, promote sustainability and enable landscape designs to reach their full potential in urban settings.

In 2017, Waibel partnered with ALCC to create a book, curriculum and testing for ALCC’s SLM program, which is available with membership. The book includes chapters on a variety of topics, including urban soils, planting composition, trees, shrubs, turf site drainage, irrigation, composting and integrated pest management.

The Urban Landscape Sustainability collection of materials includes books, curriculum and testing items. The premise is regional focus for simple, practical methods about how to help every element in the landscape system thrive. Plants and trees are more sustainable and require less care when irrigation is appropriate, soils are beneficial and site conditions are monitored.

The program includes:

Sustainable Landscape Management – Standards for Care in the Desert Southwest (English and Spanish)

Sustainable Landscape Management – A Guide to More Sustainable Landscapes in Colorado

Sustainable Landscape Construction (available later this year)

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now:


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