How to make your yard eco-friendly? Traditional landscaping typically has a huge environmental footprint – for example, Americans use 90 million pounds of fertilizer and 78 million pounds of pesticides on their lawns every year, while landscape irrigation accounts for almost one-third of all residential water usage. The solution? Green landscaping: a method of landscaping which aims to create and maintain an eco-friendly yard that saves as much time, money, and energy as possible. Green landscapes minimize soil, water, and air pollution, support wildlife, and create healthier outdoor spaces for everyone to enjoy.
Native landscaping involves opting for plants native to your regional environment; these varieties will thrive in your yard without the need for much watering and fertilizing. However, keep in mind, just because a plant is native to your region doesn’t necessarily make it a good choice – some natives are either aggressive or invasive, and therefore best avoided. For example, purple loosestrife, although beautiful, is actually now banned or considered a noxious weed in 33 states as it spreads too easily and colonizes wetlands. Moreover, you can also use native plants to create hedges or a living wall around your yard – this is an eco-friendly alternative to brick walls and fencing. Native plants can provide vital food and shelter for all sorts of wildlife.
Get rid of grass
It’s no secret grass is extremely high-maintenance: it requires regular watering, fertilizing, and mowing. However, synthetic grass is an eco-friendly alternative. Not only does synthetic grass look good, but it also requires no harsh chemicals. It’s also easy to keep artificial grass clean; simply give it a quick spray with the hose every now and then. Alternatively, you can also opt for ground cover instead of grass – similar to artificial grass, ground cover also requires minimal mowing, watering, or pesticides. Moss, in particular, is an excellent choice for your lawn. It looks pretty, feels soft under foot, and also offers environmental benefits. In fact, half a square meter of moss can absorb as much as two pounds of carbon dioxide. It also absorbs pollutants and particles, as well as even cools the environment.
Be smart with water
Water conservation plays a key role in green landscaping. So, for example, collecting rainwater runoff from your roof is a simple way to minimize your water usage. Use this water (collected in rain barrels) on your plants as needed. Additionally, if you have a lawn, let it go dormant over the summer – water it as little as possible, if at all. And, when it does need watering, don’t be stingy. Although it may initially save water, shallow watering only serves to encourage shallow root growth, which, in turn, increases the risk of drought and insect problems. So, be sure to give your lawn a nice, deep soaking every now and then.
Green landscaping is key to lowering your environmental footprint. By opting for native plants, getting rid of grass, and conserving water, you can make your yard as sustainable as possible.