LANDSCAPING: Tips for Enviromentally-Friendly Landscaping
When it comes to making their homes more environmentally friendly, most homeowners start inside the home first — choosing energy-efficient appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs, or dialing back their thermostat.
But many opportunities also exist outside the home to ensure that we’re being responsible to the environment. Follow these tips for environmentally-friendly landscaping:
- Shrink the size of your lawn and replace it with diverse landscape beds. Reducing the size of your turf saves mowing time and energy, reduces water consumption, and decreases the need for fertilizers.
- Plant regionally native plants to enhance biodiversity. Check with your local or state native plant society to find some good examples of native plants.
- Reduce the use of pesticides. Improve your soil so that plants grow healthy and discourage disease and pests. Before you run for chemicals, take a minute to correctly identify the problem. Is there a way to manage it without using chemicals? Ask your local cooperative extension.
- Compost yard waste and mulch grass clippings on site. Leave your grass clippings on your lawn instead of bagging them to be sent to the landfill. Start a compost pile to recycle fallen leaves, dead flowers, and plant cuttings.
- Plant properly to reduce heating and cooling bills. Planting appropriate deciduous trees along the south side of your home will provide shade and reduce air conditioning. In the winter, they’ll allow the sun’s rays to warm buildings.
- Create a wildlife habitat to provide a home for hummingbirds, butterflies, and other birds and beneficial insects. Consider native trees and plants, or ones with berries, fruits and flowers. Hummingbirds love trumpet vines and fuschias. You’ll attract beneficial insects to your garden by planting thyme, sunflowers, calendula, alyssum, and snowberry.
- Plant right for the site. Plant shade-loving plants in the shade and sun-loving ones in the sun — and you’ll spend less time coaxing them to grow. Incorporate low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plants into your landscape where possible.
- Practice natural lawn care by mowing your lawn on a high setting (2-3 inches) to develop deeper roots and crowd out weeds. Mow often to remove only 1/3 of the grass length during each mowing. Cutting too much at once stresses the grass.
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