The Penn State University Sheild
open the search bar
Open the menu

Landscape Architecture Student Looking to Revitalize the Modern Backyard

Printer-friendly version Share
Zoe Roane-Hopkins

Zoe Roane-Hopkins doesn’t like lawns.

At least not the conventional suburban lawn.

“People put tons of fertilizer on them, excessive amounts of water, and they’re just this dense mat of monoculture that doesn’t support life,” the Schreyer Honors Scholar and landscape architecture major said. “Mowing contributes to energy waste, fuel consumption, air and noise pollution — a lot of things that don’t need to happen if you just put some nice, native, pollinating plants in your yard.”

The fourth-year student from Camp Hill wants to help her fellow Pennsylvanians blend function, style and sustainability, all in their own backyards, and in the process discover the value of building relationships with the places in which they live. As part of her honors thesis, Roane-Hopkins is creating pamphlets, in both print and online form, that would give homeowners a variety of design templates that they could use to create more sustainable landscapes using species native to the area.

“I know that there are people out there who are interested in [sustainability], and could be interested in it, but the resources are not really readily available,” she said.

The idea, Roane-Hopkins said, is getting people to realize that many residential areas used to be home to wildlife, and by doing things as simple as adding some of those native plants or creating different layers of vegetation, that wildlife will return.

Full story by Jeff Rice, Schreyer Honors College