Healthy Landscaping – Show Notes

In this episode, we talk about what makes a healthy landscape.  Do you want your landscape to be safe for you, your family, your pets, and your community?

Use these ecological landscaping tips to create a healthy landscape for your family!


  • My view
    • Natural is better and healthier
      • 99% of time
  • #1: Chemicals
    • Endocrine disruptors, enzyme inhibitors
    • Synthetic concentrates
    • Significant health risk to family
      • Read warning labels
        • Even roundup – significant research coming out questioning potential health effects
      • Linger in landscape
        • Dog signs
      • Overspray
      • Smell it down street
    • Bigger picture
      • Runoff – greatest from home landscapes
      • Significant effects
        • Aquatic organisms
        • Algae blooms
        • Present in municipal water
      • Unknown effects – e.g. DDT
    • Cause dependency
      • Plants get unnatural boost
      • Fertilizer
        • Provide short term growth and benefit
        • Expense to long term health
          • Reduced soil health – can kill beneficial bacteria and fungi
          • Imbalance to root and vegetation growth
        • “natural fertilizers”
          • Some branded are not much different
          • Some provide natural sources of vital nutrients
            • And beneficial for soil health
          • Compost
        • Herbicides/pesticides
          • Cure short term issue – weeds/bugs
          • Create long term problem – do not fix underlying reason
          • Pests are indicators of health
  • Other health issues
    • Mowing – noise, fumes
    • Physical hazards
      • Water features
      • Holes
      • Stagnant water
        • Mosquitoes
      • Electrical
      • Uneven pavement
      • Dead branches
      • Glass
      • Size of railings – fall hazard
      • Clear firepit area – sparks
    • Street access/proximity
    • Trash – properly stored
    • Pest animals
      • Skunks, racoons, bees
  • Healthy family
    • Safe for kids
    • Eat the dirt! Eat the grass!
  • Healthy plants
    • Less work
    • Less plant stress
    • Greater resilience to disturbance
    • Less dependent on medicines
  • Biodiversity
    • Strength, resilience
    • Closer to nature
    • Soil health

Links for today’s episode:

this is the aesthetic ecosystems podcast

I’m Ben Hale your virtual design guide

to help you and your family have a

healthy beautiful landscape with less

work what’s up and welcome to episode 7

of the aesthetic ecosystems podcast

today we’re gonna be talking about what

makes a healthy landscape before we get

into it today though I want to just

chitchat a little bit first I don’t know

if you can hear it or not but my voice

is a little hoarse I’m got something

going on something floating around our

family right now

unfortunately my my little guys are

fighting some snuffles and sniffles

whatever you want to call them and some

coughs and stuff nothing nothing like a

major cold or anything but enough to

Kenny you know make their day-to-day

stuff not so fun and looks like I might

have got that or got something from work

or whatever so either way I’m gonna try

and keep it a little bit short today for

one because last episode went kind of

long and you know I don’t want to go

over too much today but also just to

hopefully save my voice and for whatever

reason when I get colds and stuff you

know I kind of lose my voice which of

course that’s great for podcasting right

a good choice Ben yeah I blame my mom

for that so anyway that’s that the other

thing I just wanted to talk a little bit

I’ll probably spend later talking in a

more complete podcast about this but and

I’ve already kind of talked about a

little bit I want to focus on what’s

your why for your landscape like why do

you really want to save time is it just

that it’s a burden to continue to work

on stuff when you could be doing

something else or is it something deeper

than that what could what can you do to

really motivate yourself to save time on

your landscape and all that work that

sometimes is kind of meaningless let’s

face it but if there’s a true motivator

it’ll really it’ll really put the

emphasis on

trying to move forward as your landscape

to still have something beautiful and

attractive and to be desirable and maybe

even rewarding but at the same time not

to be a burden and an obligation so

again this could be you know spending

more time with your family or freeing up

time to work on some of your passions in

your life that maybe you don’t get to

work on or to work toward a life vision

or a greater purpose and I really want

to tie those together to what we’re

doing with our landscapes here because

because to me they go hand in hand

enjoying a beautiful space having a

space that kind of gives you energy and

gives you life I want to make sure you

you utilize that to its fullest extent

and it’s not wasted that times not

wasted that energy is not wasted so just

try and take some time to reflect on

that and see what really what positive

change do you want to make is it is it

more quality time with your family or

your friends or is it something

different is it is it trying out a new

hobby or a new passion or spending more

time to travel and see the world

whatever it is try and figure that out

and that’ll really be a great driver for

you to to turn your landscape into

something beautiful

without tons of work that can free your

life up free your time up more and

overall just provide a positive benefit

and at the same time provide a positive

healthy space for you so really consider

that it’s very important to me and I

think it can also be very important to

you so try and reflect on that think

about it maybe over the next couple days

and see what kind of pops up for you is

is being important and how your

landscape and and what you can free

yourself from and your landscape can

really do for your life okay enough

about that not that it’s not important

but I think it dwelt on it enough for

for this episode and and let’s get on

right into what makes a healthy

landscape so so far we’ve talked about

in previous episodes

we talked about what makes a

low-maintenance landscape and why that’s

important what are the elements that

free up all the obligatory work in a

conventional landscape to make a

low-maintenance landscape we talked

about some good design principles that

make a beautiful landscape so what

differentiates just a you know a so-so

landscape or your typical postage-stamp

lot from something that’s truly

beautiful and really just maybe even

just it’s a subconscious thing but for

whatever reason you’re drawn to a

beautiful landscape what what are those

elements of good design that really make

a landscape beautiful and how can you

apply that to your yard so we talked

about what makes a low-maintenance

landscape we talked about what makes a

beautiful landscape so today we’re

talking about what makes a healthy

landscape and remember our tagline for

this show is having healthy beautiful

landscapes with less work for you and

your family and all of those elements

are very important to me they all tie

together into improving your life in

your lifestyle and and so let’s let’s

focus on the health piece today what

what does it mean to have a healthy

landscape for you and your family and

how do we get that okay I’m gonna kind

of preface this episode with just a

little bit of background on my personal

views and this is goes beyond just

landscape stuff and into just kind of

part of partly my worldview and this is

something that’s developed for me as

I’ve matured over the past several years

and it kind of have come to this

realization that this piece is important

to me and this what I’m talking about

here is a general worldview for me that

natural is better and healthier and this

isn’t always true it doesn’t play out in

everything I do but it’s a general

principle that I live by that that

natural whatever if it’s a natural

says natural materials generally

speaking or if it’s mimicking nature in

some way

generally speaking natural is better and

healthier and what I mean by that is so

often recently in society we’ve we’ve

gotten to synthetic processes or

whatever or problem-solution mindset

that sometimes I feel like is a singular

focus and that potentially the answer

can also be found in nature or the

problem-solution process may fix a

problem but it doesn’t fix the error fix

the symptom but doesn’t necessarily fix

the underlying problem and this isn’t

always true

there’s definitely exceptions to this

and I’m not saying this needs to be your

worldview but for me this is kind of how

I perceive things and it’s definitely

influenced the way I go about my

landscape design process and it’s a

frame of reference for how I perceive

things so yeah I just want you can to

consider that for yourself if that

resounds with you or maybe it doesn’t in

either way it’s okay and consider how

you feel about things and processes and

and what they mean to you and how that

might affect your approach to

landscaping so the way I want to

approach things today in this episode is

first kind of talk about maybe some of

the problem areas or potential health

issues with conventional landscape

processes or your typical yard as we may

call it and maybe why that could be a

problem and this is both I want to

approach this episode from two angles

one is health for you and your family

and secondly health for the plants in

your landscape and they both kind of

there’s a little bit of overlap there

and I’ll try and tease that out a bit

but I don’t want to talk in too broad of

categories but for the sake of time I’m

gonna have to go through some a little

bit of generalization here and so I may

be talking about both health for you and

your family and/or health for plants and

I’ll try and mention which one I’m

talking about

if there’s a certain specific area but

so let’s talk about some of the problem

areas with your typical yard with regard

to health the first and foremost is the

use of chemicals and by chemicals I mean

synthetic lead derived chemicals of both

fertilizers and pesticides and these

pesticides our two broad categories one

is herbicides that kill plants or treat

plants and the second is pesticides that


generally speaking insects but there

there are also ones that treat you know

different molds or fungus issues and

occasionally bacterial issues as well so

the reason these chemicals can be a

problem for health again there’s two

categories here and let’s talk about the

health potential human impact to health

first a lot of these chemicals are

endocrine disruptors or enzyme

inhibitors that essentially they disrupt

pathways in the target organisms life

cycle to live properly essentially and

so it disrupts that life cycle ends up

usually killing the organism most of

these products are incredibly effective

at doing their target job unfortunately

they can have side effects and a lot of

these side effects are often disputed so

I’m definitely asking you to do your own

research here make your own conclusions

these are my general viewpoints and and

I’m perfectly fine with you having a

different viewpoint these

income as synthetic concentrates so

they’re pretty concentrated ingredients

and they can pose a significant health

risk to your family I encourage you if

you use these chemicals to read the

warning labels carefully make sure you

use it according to the warning label

and the directions and to minimize

exposure to you and your family and the

animals that come through your landscape

as well as the insects that come through

your landscape so organisms in general

you’ve heard a lot in the news recently

about these massive bee die offs as

people spray these flowering plants and

bees come to feed on these these plants

and end up dying in thousands upon

thousands of numbers and and really

disrupting populations of of insects so

as an example even roundup which is in

the conventional waters is considered

generally very safe as a herbicide so if

you’re not familiar with roundup it’s

the active ingredient is called

glyphosate and it is a general plant

pathway herbicide and it is really good

at killing most plants pretty

effectively and getting down even

killing the roots as well as the foliage

and so for its intended use it’s very

effective and generally speaking it’s

labeled as a pretty safe thing but

there’s also a lot of disputed evidence

coming out that indicates it may not be

as safe as it’s often described and so

I’m just suggesting that we exercise

caution and you can choose to make the

conclusions you want but there’s

potential risk it’s not entirely known

with a lot of these chemicals whether or

not there’s a long-term risk to yourself

your family or the environment as well

so just things to consider here

some of these chemicals can linger for

quite some time in the landscape some of

them are designed to to do that to have

extended release over time and others

don’t linger as long but in general it’s

important to consider what the long-term

effects are the long-term exposure may

be to some of these chemicals so you see

people’s yards get sprayed or whatever

and after if it’s a professional doing

it you see them put these signs out to

indicate that you need to staff the line

there’s a reason for that that it’s

actually a known risk that they’re

required to label that if you’re doing

yourself or other people in in your

neighborhood are doing it themselves

they might not necessarily put these

signs out but again there’s a reason

that it can pose a significant risk to

your family or your pets to come in

contact with some of these chemicals

it’s been shown as well that kids our

children are more susceptible to

exposure to these some of these

chemicals again here I’m making broad

generalizations but there is research

even well published acknowledged

research that these companies know about

and and put on their warning labels that

some of these chemicals are unsafe and

need to be treated appropriately so just

be careful when you’re using them I

prefer just to avoid chemical use in

general I’d rather be on the safe side

when it comes to my family and whether

or not they’re exposed to something

that’s potentially risky then to be on

the other side and assume something safe

just because there’s research that

hasn’t come out that’s been credible

enough to show it’s unsafe I’d rather

just try and correct an issue that

hasn’t might have a deeper problem as

opposed to try and fix the symptom with

a short-term solution that might be

unsafe so I encourage you to if if this

is something that’s a point of

contention for you or you’re not sure

where you stand or are just curious

about it I encourage

to do your own research there’s a

significant amount of bias in this space

so it’s it’s really difficult to try and

find unbiased information on this so I

just encourage you to try and have an

open mind to consider both there’s

generally two sides to this issue so

consider both sides of this issue of

chemical use and determine where you

stand and what’s healthy

what means health for you and your

family and and really just consider

especially if you have children or pets

what the effect on them might be so

here’s a I’m gonna run through a kind of

a list of a few more things about

chemicals here and we’ll try and move on

to talk about some other things and then

how to treat your landscape with health

when you’re applying chemicals if you’re

applying chemicals be careful about

overspray so contacting non-targeted

things if you are using chemicals also

think about the bigger picture

so is there potential for runoff a lot

of chemicals indicate that you should

only spray within a certain period

before rain is predicted it’s very

common that I see lawn treatment

companies spraying just before rain and

that’s actually contraindicated on a lot

of labels and it’s something that’s not

supposed to be done because especially

before they’re dry a lot of these

chemicals can run off and get into the

water stream waterways and into

groundwater or surface water and can

cause larger effects on aquatic

organisms and greater environmental

impact so a lot of studies have shown

that the greatest amount of pesticide

and herbicide and fertilizer runoff

occurs from home landscapes of all

things there’s a significant amount that

comes from an aerial agriculture but a

lot of times agriculture areas farmers

and applicators in those areas will more

closely follow what’s required whereas a

lot of homeowners don’t

necessarily follow the EPA guidance on

application so the runoff and wider

effects of some of these chemicals are

actually more due to home landscapes so

I strongly encourage you if you choose

to use this chemical treatment route to

make sure you’re doing it in a

responsible manner there can be

significant big-picture effects of these

chemicals to aquatic organisms algae

blooms are largely a result of home

landscape use of synthetic fertilizers

primarily the I think it’s the the

phosphorus content that leads to the

algae blooms I can’t don’t quote me on

that but I think that’s what’s the main

driver for that so just consider yeah

when you’re applying fertilizer as well

that you’re doing it in a way that will

stay on your landscape and not get in to

the sewers or whatever there’s actually

been shown to that sometimes there’s

traces of these herbicides and

pesticides that can show up in municipal

water so even after waters treated

sometimes this stuff can linger around

significant amounts of time and there’s

of course the I don’t know if you’re

familiar with the story of DDT with

Rachel Carson in the 1960s she came out

and and started to discover that DDT

which was a common insect treatment to

take care of insect problems it started

accumulating in certain organisms and

primarily in raptors so predatory birds

and it started causing these massive

effects where these predatory birds

weren’t able to produce offspring

because they couldn’t lay eggs that were

hard enough to withstand the elements

and so we started losing massive amounts

of raptors in the North America and

we’re just starting to bounce back from

that so again sometimes we just don’t

know the effects of some of these

chemicals until potentially it could be

too late so that’s some of the broad

stuff let’s talk about the effect on

plants themselves again these chemicals

like I mentioned earlier they are very

effective in treating the symptom of the

problem but they don’t always treat the

root cause of the problem and generally

speaking you get a an unnatural boost or

an unnatural benefit that might not last

the long term and so it can actually

cause dependency on a certain product so

let’s talk about fertilizers

specifically first so fertilizers do

show a boost when they’re used usually

in plant growth so you get additional

foliage the plant generally looks


so consider grass right if you spray

grass with a general lawn fertilizer you

see a significant benefit in growth

generally though it’s a short-term

benefit you’re not necessarily giving

overall health benefit to the plant most

often though there is a trade-off to

this short-term benefit so there’s

actually an expense to the long-term

health generally speaking you get

reduced soil health so some of these

fertilizers are actually potent enough

where they can kill your beneficial soil

health so this is your bacteria and your

fungi specifically or fungi I look guys

I like to say fungi I’ll probably use

them interchangeably hopefully I don’t

stop and say both every time but your

molds in your yeast in your soil it can

kill these organisms and they’re very

important for beneficial interactions

with plants and so once you start to

lose that interaction is when you start

to have more health problems pop up they

can also cause an imbalance within the

plant itself between root and vegetation

growth and it’s very important to

maintain this balance so that the plant

is properly supported on both ends from

the nutrients

Taine’s through the surface interactions

with the roots and the soil as well as

the amount of photosynthesis and light

capturing and basically of the the

above-ground machinery so it’s important

to maintain that balance for the plant

and if we disrupt it you can cause

health problems there as well okay what

about natural fertilizers there’s a lot

of these so called organic or natural

fertilizers out there and are they good

for your plants right they’re natural so

they must be good right well yes and no

it’s not always the case some of these

branded fertilizers you can get they’re

actually not much different sometimes

than your typical NPK that you might be

getting off the shelf so some of these

organic ones or whatever they might just

be a concentrated form of fertilizer

that’s derived for more natural

processes as opposed to a petroleum

derived process and so they might still

have the same issues as your typical

fertilizers your Miracle Grow or

whatever that you might get off the

shelf and so it’s important to consider

what type of amendment or fertilizer

you’re looking at if it’s something that

is a kind of more natural source meaning

like it’s a like a compost type

amendment or something like that it

might provide a longer term release of

similar nutrients but in a more balanced

way that is more closely associated with

something that might be present

naturally in the soil in a healthy soil

ecosystem it also might be something

where it’s less harmful to the soil

itself with it doesn’t necessarily kill

the bacteria and fungi in the soil so

it’s something to consider there I have

to speak in generalizations here because

it’s it’s something that’s so broad

there’s so many different types of

amendments that it’s something you just

kind of have to try and diagnose and

figure out yourself without me going

into details on it every single brand of

every single product the other thing to

mention here is some amendments are

actually very beneficial for soil health

and there are also benefits for plants

at the same time so those types of

amendments are better again it’s

something with a low maintenance

landscape it’s something you want to

hopefully do maybe in the short term for

establishment or to restore health of

something that might be out of balance

but something you’d want to avoid use of

in the long term just for the your own

sake of work even though it might be a

healthier type of amendment or chemical

use the other piece here is compost is

essentially a natural fertilizer or

amendment it’s a broken down a process

of organic material usually rich in soil

life so you have micro crustaceans you

have protozoa you have fungi you have

bacteria hopefully in a good balance

with each other

yeah in the healthy organisms as well

because there’s healthy and unhealthy

ones so hopefully you have healthy ones

in a good compost and you also have a

good balance of nutrients present you

have good amount of organic matter

present you have humic acids present so

all of these things are very important

for good plant health and it’s kind of

in a concentrated form in compost so

it’s definitely something you don’t want

to add a heavy amount it can actually

hurt plants as well but it’s a gentle or

amendment and some of the synthetic

chemicals that you might have okay on to

herbicides and pesticides these often

are used to again kind of cure a

short-term issue or a specific issue so

it might be like a leaf mold that you

have might be a certain plant invasion

that you have a certain insect invasion

you have maybe your overrun with aphids

for example but a lot of times these

create a long term problem there’s a

couple reasons for this one they don’t

fix an underlying the underlying problem

itself generally they fix the symptom so

you might think if you have a fits right

that that’s the problem that you have a

fits but it could

be a much deeper issue you might have a

weakened plant that the aphids are

attracted to you might have an

out-of-balance predator-prey

relationship where there’s nothing there

to eat the aphids before they come a

problem so a lot of times the problem

you think you’re solving you might just

be kind of kicking it down the road a

little bit farther and you’re going to

continue to have that issue or other

issues that that surface with that plant

or with your landscape as a whole

another thing they potentially create a

long term problem with especially when

it comes to pesticides that are killing

targeting insects most specifically or I

guess or that are targeting a certain

type of microorganism like a fungus that

usually when you use these products

you’re not only killing the target

organism but you could potentially be

killing their predators so it could be

if it’s a an antifungal spray you might

not only be killing the the targeted

leafmold that you have or rust or

whatever but you’re also killing all the

beneficial organisms that could

potentially have out balanced that

problem in the first place so you want

to build resilience as opposed to just

try and fix the problem by killing

everything the same goes with the insect

piece so if you’re targeting say a fizz

since I already mentioned it you might

be killing the ladybugs that feed on the

aphids and so by killing the pest insect

you are also potentially killing a lot

of predator insects that you could be

building up in your your landscape to

prevent the problem in the first place

so it’s just something to consider here

it’s it’s generally speaking it’s more

difficult to fix the underlying problem

but it’s very important to think about

it and consider how you can do that the

last bit I want to say here is that

pests they’re often given a bad rap and

for good reason but the other way to

think about this is that pests

are generally speaking they’re

indicators of health and so if you try

and look at it from a different

perspective and to really diagnose

what’s the true root of the problem here

it can go a long way toward fixing the

the overall problem and give you better

overall plant health in your whole

landscape as opposed to trying to fix

one specific problem and I think it’s

the next episode I’ll actually be

talking about this and a lot more depth

but I just want to kind of drop that

here and I guess for a an analogy think

about like food allergies right so

here’s a good story so I have a close

friend who he he’s gets really really

really bad gas after eating asserting

certain foods and so there’s kind of two

ways to look at this problem right it’s

it could be he could just continue to

try and fix the problem by you know

something like Beano right that could

take care of the problem but with

diagnosing what types of food

he’s eating at what times and when he

has the problem he’s kind of gotten to a

root cause that he has some sort of

issue with dairy it which is not

uncommon and so he’s finding he has to

figure out okay do I try and fix the

root cause and to more conscientiously

think about when he’s consuming dairy or

does he continue to consume dairy and

just fix the the later problem of the

the gas the symptom that’s coming

through so it’s kind of an example of

you could choose to just work on the

symptom but if you dig into what’s the

underlying problem what’s causing the

symptom to happen it could lead to

better overall health and I suggest you

do that with your landscape if you have

a bad gas issue too I would suggest

looking deeper as well alright okay

let’s talk about maybe

we definitely dwelt quite a bit on

chemicals but there are other health

issues with your landscape that I I

really suggest you consider in with our

landscape when we moved into our home a

lot of these issues were also present or

still are present so it’s just something

to consider when you’re trying to frame

your landscape as being a healthier

landscape these are definitely important

elements to consider so first what about

water features

what sort of water features do you have

in your landscape or in neighboring

landscapes that might be a health risk

to you your family or maybe even your

pets so a lot of these things I’m

talking about here are significant risks

to pets or kids and water features is

one of those where if you have a pool or

a pond or whatever they can be a

significant health risk to your children

sadly there’s so many children that

drown each year due to somehow being

left unattended accidentally usually and

and they wind up in some sort of water

feature or following a pool or something

and and tragically drowned

so it’s important to consider safety

with your landscape and how you can

somehow protect your children or your

pets from getting into that situation in

the first place

and so for us our neighbors we have a

couple neighbors that have pools and

that have ponds and so we have to be

extra vigilant for there’s one pond

specifically nearest that is not fenced

and so we have to be extra vigilant with

our children when we’re outside to make

sure that they aren’t at risk for that

sort of thing okay holes we have a few

holes in our landscape that can be in

just a general hazard for walking or

running especially in the dark which has

happened a few times as just a falling

or tripping hazard and so it’s just

something to consider can you somehow

remove or cover that hole or just in

general Tripp

hazards throughout your landscape and

these could even be roots so how do you

direct foot traffic away from routes

that maybe are raised above the ground

that could become an issue

what about stagnant water and then I’m

not necessarily talking about ponds and

stuff here but but just areas where

water can pull up they can become a

breeding ground for mosquitos they can

become stagnant and have non beneficial

organisms that are breeding they’re

proliferating and can be a toxic hazard

to your animals if your kids get into it

they and they might drink it or whatever

it could cause sickness as well but yeah

and also just for mosquito breeding it’s

becoming more of a more more and more of

a concern with mosquitoes so just

consider that what about electrical

hazards so are your outlets protected

are they in an area that kids won’t be

accessing them do you have any

electrical that’s maybe shallow

shallowly buried or not properly

protected that should be fixed or

repaired things like that uneven

pavement this is a common one we have a

driveway which we haven’t yet replaced

because you know driveways are a

significant expense but is something

important to consider that may be what

we’ll have to do is kind of shave it

down but the pads have become uneven to

the point where they’re a tripping

hazard and do you have a driveway or

pathways walkways that pose similar

hazards where there’s uneven pavement

that can be danger for anybody

especially kids and elderly people

walking down them dead branches are a

common one do you have anything you know

in the woods these are well not just in

the woods but these are called

widow-makers for a reason so do you have

any dead branches or parts of trees that

should be removed before they become an

issue with falling on somebody or

something so just make sure you always

look up and see what you

in your trees and if they need to be

taken care of blasts we’ve found a ton

of glass in our backyard after we moved

in and we’re still finding and

occasionally glass and shards of glass

pieces of metal just general things that

can you know poke your feet and so we

actually have to I would love to have a

landscape where my kids can just run

around barefoot and we’re not quite

there yet because we continue to find

little bits of stuff each year that can

be a risk so if you have any of that in

your landscape definitely try and remove

it if you can and it’s it’s so difficult

but just keep an eye out for it and try

and avoid creating situations that might

cause some of that what about size of

railings this is also something in our

landscape that we have is is we have a

deck it’s a second-story deck and

there’s a staircase going up to it the

railings aren’t properly spaced the the

supports on the side railings and their

their gaps too wide to where they’re a

hazard for children and so just

something to consider as well also where

they the correct height a lot of times

with do-it-yourself type projects people

don’t necessarily build stuff to code

and so it’s important to think that

you’re building a railing I enough to

where it’s not a fall hazard so make

sure it’s high enough to where if

somebody bumps into the railing they’re

not more likely to topple over it as

opposed to being as something that can

protect them what about a fire pit

especially in dry regions make sure your

fire pit area is clear from spark

hazards so you cleared it of dried

material dead material within a certain

radius as well as above it so make sure

if you have sparks coming from your fire

or coals or whatever that they’re not

going to catch something and cause of a

larger problem okay guys that’s enough

about the health issues let’s talk about

healthy family and healthy plants and

what causes or what what we can do to

build health in our landscape and man

I’ve looked down and I realized this is


only a long episode I’ve gone a long

time on the problems I actually intended

to go pretty quickly on that but you can

tell that these things are so important

to me I had to kind of dwell on some of

the the negative stuff first

unfortunately but overall it’s to kind

of give us a mindset of to what to build

toward and so let’s talk a little bit

about that unfortunately I’m gonna go

maybe a little bit faster on this stuff

then I originally tend to intended but I

don’t want to spend too much time here

as well so am i voice I can feel it kind

of going already so let’s let’s get

through this okay so for health with a

healthy family there are there is one

guiding principle for me and how I

perceive landscapes and healthy

landscapes and that is if it’s safe for

kids if it’s something that’s safe for

kids it’s most likely safe for adults or

your pets as well and and me having

three young children and seeing how they

interact with spaces especially

landscapes is is something that has been

it’s very insightful in revealing for me

and and how I perceive my landscape and

other landscapes that are designed and

how they’re healthy I mean the examples

I have here is I know this is here’s a

good story for you guys so as a

four-year-old there is a age-old story

that I’m told when I was a yeah I was

four we were going fishing and so I have

two older brothers that were with me my

grandfather was with me and I was

fishing well supposedly fishing I was

there and so we have our you know our

little bucket of worms and we’re bobber

fishing for our hopefully you know

trying to catch a bass right but more

likely we’re pulling in blue gills left

and right and my brother’s turn around

and suddenly wonder where all the

fishing bait go

well here I sitting on the dock with the

the bait pail in my hand and turns out I

ingested all the worms in the bucket for

whatever reason I guess you know what I

haven’t tried it since but I guess worms

are a pretty good delicacy tastes great

and so I highly recommend them haven’t

tried in since I was 4 but but anyway my

point here is that no matter what no

matter how careful you are with your

landscape kids are going to ingest part

of your landscape so if your landscape

is safe enough where you can eat the

dirt then your landscape is good and

that’s kind of how I perceive things

I’ve definitely seen my boys while I try

not to let him do it I’ve seen them put

grass in their mouths a little bits of

dirt in their mouths and you know what

though at the end of the day I know that

my landscape is safe enough for that to

happen and so kind of try and use that

frame of reference for your landscape is

it something safe enough to eat not that

I recommend eating anything in the

landscape unless you have an edible

landscape but just having that mindset

can really make a difference on how you

build health in your landscape so I

guess with that what I’m saying is eat

the dirt and eat the grass and

disclaimer here I’m not really

recommending that I guess I have to say

that right but what I’m saying here yes

is design your landscape healthy enough

where if that were to happen that it’s

not a health hazard as far as healthy

plants go I’ve really you know drilled

this and pretty much every episode we’ve

talked about already but healthy plants

what that means for you is less work

it also means less plant stress because

your plants are happier they’re living

in a way that they’re supposed to live

that they’re designed or evolved to live

and for that reason a healthy plant

means a happy plant means less stress on

the plant which means a half year you

because you don’t have to sit there

trying to figure out why your plants not

growing properly of course this also

greater resilience to disturbance so

whatever this disturbance may be maybe

it’s temperature extremes maybe it’s

heat you know and cold or it could be

water extremes but if your plant is is

for lack of a better term if you plan is

more well rooted if it’s living happily

it’s more likely to bounce back from

stressful situations compared to a

weekend plant that will manifest maybe

disease symptoms or or partial death or

complete death and so greater resilience

to disturbance is what you get with

healthy plants and you also of course

they’re less dependent on medicines and

those are all the chemicals we talked

about we spent probably too much time

talking about but those essentially are

plant medicines if you think about it

and so the healthier happier plants

don’t need the medicine in the first

place and that’s a great place to be so

a last piece I want to touch upon here

before wrapping up is that biodiversity

is a good thing you know it designed

properly it’s not only a good thing but

it’s an appealing thing so in your

designed landscape how can you have the

plants you want and also get diversity

at the same time so what I’m talking

about here is that plants are evolved to

live in a in their natural ecosystem

they’re evolved to live with other

plants that are generally speaking very

diverse but going beyond plants they’re

also evolved to live in systems where

there’s interactions with insects and

micro crustaceans and protozoa and

nematodes and bacteria and fungus in

yeasts all sorts of things that that

build this network this food web of

intricate organisms of interdependent

relationships that lead to overall

health in a good balanced ecosystem and

so if we can get this amount of

biodiversity or some semblance of that

biodiversity that these plants are

evolved to live with in our own

landscape then we’ve hit a homerun we’ve

won our plant is happy

it’s healthy it’s gonna live on it’s

gonna be better resilient to stress it’s

not gonna need inputs of chemicals or

time or work and you’re gonna have your

beauty that you want so when you have

your biodiversity you’re more strong

you’re stronger you’re more resilient

you’re also closer to nature so it kind

of goes back to that first point I made

with my viewpoint is that generally

speaking natural is better the plant

evolved in a natural setting and so if

we provide something close to its

natural setting it’s going to be happier

and you’re gonna have your soil your

healthy soil that supports that plant

okay so I’m gonna wrap up there so

overall my point here is that healthy

plants mean happy plants healthy

landscape means healthy people when it

comes to interacting through landscape

if your your landscape is safe enough to

enter your kids mouths maybe not to you

know be swallowed but if if your kid

gets a handful of grass and dirt in its

mouth his or her mouth is is that okay

or are you gonna be freaking out if if

so maybe then your landscapes not

healthy enough maybe you could work on

that and so I’m gonna leave you with

that if this stuff you know trying to

get a healthy landscape sounds

overwhelming to you I’m gonna suggest

you can as one option what you can do is

I am open to consultations right now so

you can go to aesthetic ecosystems calm

slash consulting to have a chance to

work one-on-one with me digitally so you

can sign up there to have a consultation

with me I can help you get started on

this stuff and if if something if you’re

just looking to get started right now

without having to do too much what you

can do is I’ve put together an awesome

resource on how you can save 27 hours of

work in your landscape with just some

simple habit changes you can check that

out at ascetic ecosystems calm slash to

seven hours and that’ll take you to this

awesome resource okay now it’s time to

talk about the launch party

as excuse me not party but partay the

launch party is for the first two months

of the show from March 11th through May

help spread a war spread the word about

the show I really appreciate your

enthusiasm and interest in this show and

I want to get you guys involved and have

some fun while we’re doing it so this is

a chance to have some fun too for us to

get connected to win some prizes and

let’s talk about the prizes before we

talk about what we’re doing so what are

the prizes weekly I am offering a free

consultation with me Ben Hale which is

normally a $99 value so one person each

week that gets involved in the launch

partay gets a free consultation I’m also

giving away a free offer for one of my

ebooks ten ways to get more beauty with

less work which is the $19 value next

the grand prize there is only one of

these were giving away through this

whole launch party so at the end of the

launch partay the organic lawn care

manual by Paul Tookie so Paul Tookie

himself has offered to give away one

free book to a lucky winner that’s

getting involved in this launch party

and this book is all about how to manage

a healthy lawn from anything from a golf

course style on to your low-maintenance

lawn which of course is something I

prefer here on this show right I own

this book I’ve read this book multiple

times I’ve given it away it’s a kind of

a tattered and worn version that I have

and I use some of these practices in my

own lines so I love this book and I

highly promoted as well and you’ll hear

me talk about it throughout the show but

Paul Tookie has been kind enough to

offer a copy of his book as a grand

prize and there’s also a special

surprise for everybody that’s going to

be getting involved in the launch partay

the rolling river nursery out of

California has offered a special

surprise for everybody that’s involved

the rolling river nursery is a USDA

certified organic nursery so I went

online and I looked around for nurseries

that have online availability ship

through the continental US and have some

great offerings and

River nursery is being kind enough to

become involved with our launch party

and they’re not only are they online

availability but they also are certified

organic which means they don’t use any

harmful herbicides or pesticides that

you have to be concerned with your

family about and so what you’re getting

is a safe and healthy plant they also

offer a ton of edible plants and Crees

and shrubs cacti and succulents so they

offer several trees and shrubs that are

adaptable throughout the most of the

United States so definitely worth

checking them out and in addition these

guys are also involved with a non-profit

in Southern California to help local

food movements called planting justice

org so if you want to learn more about

them you can go to rolling River nursery

calm and I also want to give a shout out

to Paul to Kies website for his organic

lawn care manual and his other works is

Paul to keep calm PA UL t uke Y and to

sum up guys okay you want to learn how

to get involved with this launch party

go over to aesthetic ecosystems calm

slash pod launch and that’s p OD lau NCH

there’s a link in the show notes and

that’s that’s gonna give you all the

instructions on how to get involved

there’s two ways specifically to get

involved one is through sharing with

your peeps on Facebook and the other is

through leaving a review on iTunes

both of these are gonna help spread the

word about the show and get other people

other friends listening to it as well

and I sure appreciate your help here and

and likewise this is gonna be a fun time

so so going over and to aesthetic

ecosystems comm slash pod launch to get

involved overall I just want to say

thanks so much for listening I hope you

this this podcast gives you the

inspiration to change your life through

your landscape go on over check out the

show notes there we’ll have links to the

that you subscribe if you like the show

that’ll get these episodes delivered

right to you when they come out and also

if you like the show

consider going over to iTunes or

stitcher or your favorite listening

device and leave a review these reviews

are awesome at getting us to reach more

people that care about their landscapes

and want to make a positive difference

in their life and also their landscape

and to wrap up I just want to say thanks

for tuning in and make sure you live

with passion and make tomorrow better

than today

[Music] [Music]