Eco-friendly is trending right now, and a great place to implement environmentally friendly practices is right in your own backyard. Whether you’ve been landscaping for years or you’re new to the scene, these tips will help make your landscape more sustainable and minimize your carbon footprint.
Environmentally friendly landscaping, also referred to as sustainable or green landscaping, is a type of landscaping that focuses on using energy-saving and eco-friendly methods. Practicing sustainable landscaping requires you to be in tune with your local climate and choose landscaping implementations that conform with it. This can help ensure you only use resources such as water and fertilizer that are readily available and don’t take away from or contribute to environmental damage.
The following are several practices you can implement in your landscape to make it more sustainable:
Image via Flickr by Jan Tik
Rather than relying on your own water sources, such as a garden hose or sprinkler, consider using rainwater to water your plants. You can do this by building or buying a rain barrel to collect rainwater that you can use to water your plants and trees.
To build your own rain barrel, you can use a large trash can or plastic drum and add a few simple parts. A quick search online will give you plenty of ideas and instructions. Using rainwater rather than your own water source can cut back on water use and provide a more sustainable way to water your plants.
Many people rely on fertilizer to feed and help grow their plants. However, fertilizer can contain several chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. Rather than distributing fertilizer throughout your landscape, try using compost instead. You can buy compost at your local hardware or garden store or even make your own compost bin for an even more eco-friendly option.
Some plants require a lot of watering and upkeep while others require minimal attention. Grouping similar plants together can make it easier to know what each plant needs and keep you from wasting water and fertilizer on plants that don’t require much. Plus, some plants can even protect the plants near them from diseases, which can also contribute to a healthier landscape. To group your plants, be sure to read up on each plant’s needs and then arrange the ones with similar requirements together.
Even if where you live isn’t prone to droughts, planting drought-resistant plants can reduce your need to water them. This can ultimately cut back on the amount of water you use on your landscape and can even reduce your water bill. Excellent drought-resistant plant options include yellow pampas grass, succulents, and butterfly weed.
Sprinkler systems are a great way to not only save you time when it comes to watering your landscape but also to reduce water usage and make landscaping more efficient. Sprinkler systems can easily be set on a timer that only waters at certain times of the day or week. You can even install a drip irrigation system that waters your root systems rather than the foliage for additional water savings.
Mulch is a great layering option for your landscape that can add aesthetic appeal as well as contribute to a more eco-friendly yard. Mulch can prevent weeds from growing and spreading around your plants, and it will retain moisture so you won’t have to water as often. Mulch also decomposes on its own into the soil, making it a green solution for covering pathways and landscape ground.
There are several eco-friendly landscape materials you can use to accent your yard. Not only are these options great for the environment, but they are often less expensive than new materials. Great reusable or recycled landscape materials include recycled concrete, terra cotta bricks, adobe bricks, natural stones, and rocks from your backyard.
Rather than relying on gas-powered landscape tools such as hedge trimmers, electric pruners, or tillers, consider gardening by hand to minimize the release of chemicals and gas into the air. These gases can be harmful to both your landscape and the atmosphere and cost money to use and maintain. Instead, try using a rake, shovel, or other tools that don’t require gas to run, and use your hands to weed.
Image via Flickr by Shan Sheehan
While synthetic grass certainly doesn’t sound as appealing as lush real grass, it can ultimately lead to a more sustainable yard and require less maintenance on your part. Artificial grass looks and feels just like natural grass, but requires no pesticide, fertilizer, or watering to keep up with. Plus, synthetic grass is much hardier than natural grass and will continue to look great despite foot traffic, bad weather, or lack of maintenance.
Fully understanding where you live and the kind of weather your location regularly experiences can better prepare you to care for your landscape in an eco-friendly way. For example, if you live in an area that receives lots of sunshine on a daily basis, choose drought-resistant plants to avoid having to regularly water your landscape.
If you live in a home that sits on uneven land, take precautions against soil runoff and erosion to avoid costly and environmentally harmful repairs down the road. Additionally, if you live in a location that is regularly exposed to strong winds, your landscape will require more water to maintain, so choosing plants that need little water can help offset this.
There are several steps you can take to make your landscape more sustainable and contribute to a healthier, greener environment. If you have questions or want to learn more about eco-friendly living, give Energy Diagnostics a call today.