A few words stenciled on a shop window got me thinking about this…the very last lure after organic spa treatments were the enticing words ‘eco-luxury‘. I would think that eco-luxury would be one ‘green’ term that garden and landscape designers would have already latched on to. Its marketability as a lifestyle concept has been embraced by interior designers, spas and resorts, and architects–yet I haven’t seen it used as a concept by landscape designers.
Think about it–guiltless, sustainable, ecologically sound design, installation and management practices that appeals to clients who want to lead a pampered, opulent lifestyle without any earthburger connotations. The possibilities boggle the mind. The fact is, that many clients do not even realize that they can have a beautiful and luxurious outdoor environment that is also eco-conscious. Pictured below is Bardessono, a resort/spa in Napa Valley that markets itself as the ‘greenest’ luxury hotel in America. Seeking a LEED platinum certification, it is sleek, modern and definitely luxurious and it’s part of a larger and fast growing trend in many segments of the design industries.
What exactly is eco-luxury in landscape and garden design? It’s creating the highest level of design, aesthetics, and quality while maintaining an ecologically sustainable and balanced environment that doesn’t tax natural resources in its creation or its ongoing maintenance. What client wouldn’t want a project that met that criteria? Local sourcing and planned resource use for their garden’s creation and maintenance will save them money in the long run. Eco-luxury does not have add to the cost of a project if it’s designed that way from the onset.
For me, as a landscape designer, it means that I have to continue to use locally sourced materials and building techniques, create a balanced use of natural resources such as water, establish a recycling plan for the entire lifecycle of the project, and create opportunities for using renewable energy sources during the creation and life of the built landscape. I realize that I have been a proponent of the eco-luxury movement for a while now, I just haven’t thought of it that way. So now it also means that I can market my design services being environmentally sensitive without sacrificing the ‘bling’.
Photo credit: The New York Times