Make Your Landscaping More Eco-Friendly With These Great Ideas
Spring is on the way, and for many of us, it’s the ideal time to get outdoors and work on our landscaping. For some, this means a simple tidying up of winter’s mess, or for others, a partial or complete overhaul as plant materials have become overgrown, damaged or even dead. As you set out working on beautifying your home’s landscaping, it’s important to consider taking a greener approach so you’re helping to protect our environment — not just for you, but for your children, their children, and generations to come.
Green landscaping, or eco-friendly landscaping, is the process of designing, creating, and maintaining your landscape to save time, money and energy. When we landscape in this sustainable way, we’re nurturing wildlife, reducing soil, air, and water pollution, and making healthy recreation spaces, according to Better Homes & Gardens.
So, instead of dumping thousands of dollars into watering, fertilizing, pesticides, and beautification, let’s look at some eco-friendly landscaping ideas instead.
Use water wisely
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, landscape irrigation uses a whopping nine billion gallons of water a day! With this enormous cost and waste of natural resources in mind, consider some of the following:
- Use your irrigation system effectively. For example, if you’re watering at high noon, most of the water used is being evaporated. If you’re watering portions of your street because you haven’t adjusted your system’s spray range, you’re clearly wasting water.
- Repurpose beautiful old ceramic milk jugs and use them to collect rain. They make beautiful lawn ornaments, and are wonderful water collectors for watering flowers or vegetables.
- Have fewer grassy surfaces.
- Mulch landscaped beds to keep the moisture in. Remember, stained mulch can make for a lingering mess on your hands without proper gardening gloves.
If you live in a drought-prone area, you need to practice xeriscaping versus greenscaping. What this encompasses is:
- Selecting plants that are native to your region, and thus grow naturally with minimal human intervention.
- Using low-pressure irrigation that delivers water to root systems only.
- Utilizing sandy soils that move water, unlike soils composed of mostly clay.
- Mulching to prevent water evaporation.
If you need some extra help revamping your outdoor space, you may want to discuss your options with a landscaping professional. A landscape design expert can help you create an eco-friendly landscape in your yard.
Compost vs. fertilizer
Fertilizers are often the quickest go-to option for consumers looking to feed or amend their soil, but the synthetic chemicals they contain are extremely harmful to the environment. An alternative to chemical formulas is the organic method of composting. Composting has multiple benefits, including:
- Creating a food web within the soil.
- Enhancing the soil with microbes and nutrients.
- Helping aerate the soil to keep it moist.
- Helping plants fight disease.
Use salvaged materials in creative ways
Green landscaping is all about being friendly to the environment, and that means recycling. Whether you’re looking for some nice art pieces to add to your garden or tools to garden with, find creative ways to repurpose some things.
For example, use old yogurt cups to start seedlings, and then use old water bottles to protect them once you transplant them outside. Use recycled stones for a lovely garden walkway. Or, shop flea markets to find kitschy items you can use to create garden art.
Use alternatives to pesticides
Using chemicals to combat unwanted insects is harmful to the environment, as they end up in the water table when rain washes them away. Instead, consider some alternatives:
- Yellow sticky traps are perfect for catching flying insects.
- To catch crawling garden nuisances such as slugs, make a small hole to bury a recycled yogurt cup and fill it with beer or milk to lure them in.
- Aphids are a common garden destroyer, so attract ladybugs to your garden to keep them from coming around.
Use solar landscape lighting
Converting your standard landscape lighting to a solar-powered lighting system may have some up-front costs; but in the long run, you’ll be saving, as it won’t be adding anything to your electric bill.
Even if you’re not changing your landscaping, you can still move toward a more sustainable gardening approach by using some of these great ideas. Finding ways to preserve our environment for future generations is critical. It’s time we all do our part.