Do your neighbors describe you as that “crunchy” family who only buys organic, uses cloth diapers, hangs the laundry out to dry, preserves extra garden produce and drives a hybrid low-fuel vehicle? You’ve been busy going green inside your house, but what about your yard? Is it as green as its color? If you’re ready to turn your focus on greening the outside of your home, here are seven tips to making your yard and the landscape eco-friendly:
Make it a Family Affair
Your kids are never too young or too old to start learning about how their actions impact the environment. Getting them involved not only means that there are more hands to do the work, it also increases the chance that they will adopt a green lifestyle as they grow. You can find a used riding lawn mower for sale and let teens cut the grass. For little ones, picking weeds or raking the grass clippings are age-appropriate tasks.
Stick with Plants that are Native to Your Area
The Environmental Protection Agency suggests using these plants for the majority of your landscaping since they will thrive and require less attention and care than more exotic plants. They are also an integral part of the local ecosystem and create an environment that’s unique to your area.
Select Plants that will Help Reduce Your Heating and Cooling Bill
Just planting a row of deciduous trees along the south and east sides of your home can reduce your air conditioning expenses by as much as 20 percent. To block heavy northwest winter winds which can help lower heating costs, use coniferous trees along the north and west sides of your home.
Implement Xeriscaping Techniques
If this word is unfamiliar to you, it simply refers to different types of irrigation practices, according to Green Building Elements. You can put a low-flow nozzle on your hose or place auto-controlled moisture sensors in your soil to determine the most efficient way to use water. Collect water in pretty buckets and direct gutter spouts to a barrel or onto the lawn or garden.
Make a Smaller Lawn Area
To cut down on the amount of time and energy you put into maintaining your lawn, why not reduce the area of it? GardeningClan.com suggests adding rock beds, a small fish pond, a vegetable garden, flower beds or anything that cuts down on the amount of water and chemicals needed to keep it looking nice.
Cut Down on Chemicals
While they give you a brighter, lush lawn, the chemicals in lawn-care products can run off into the streams and rivers as the rain washes them away, andthey can harm your pets and children. Reducing the amount of fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides that you use and choose more eco-friendly options. Select plants that grow well on their own and don’t attract pests. You can also find homemade recipes for controlling pests online.
Create an Edible Garden
Eat organic and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time by buying plants that multi-task. The Frugal Mama website likes to use and cook with arugula, kale, pumpkin flowers, nasturtiums, tomatoes, berries and a variety of herbs. You end up spending less on fresh produce during the summer, you’ll have a colorful yard, and you’ll expand your palate and encourage your family to eat healthy.
Now that you’re set with plenty of tips to keep you busy all summer long, grab the family, your gardening gear and get busy!