Whatever the weather and no matter the season, maintaining an eco-friendly garden, lawn or yard should always be at the top of your to-do list. Landscaping with green principles in mind will save you money, conserve the earth’s energy and nurture wildlife, while also reducing air, land and water pollution. Here are eight green landscaping ideas and tips to ensure that your outdoor living spaces are environmentally healthy ones.
- Go native by picking plants that naturally grow in your region. Nativars (as they are known) are already adapted to your environment and will require less care and water, while providing other environmental benefits.
- Keep out nosy neighbors with a living wall or hedge, instead of a fence. The plants growing on a living wall remove toxins and contaminants from the air.
- When choosing bricks and step stones for your garden or driveway, select permeable pavers that allow water to penetrate into the ground and promote the natural water cycle.
- Before adding potentially dangerous chemicals found in fertilizers and pesticides, test soil to see if any enhancements are needed. You may be able to improve soil quality with compost and other organic materials.
- Only apply fertilizer at certain times of the year, depending on where you live and what kind of grass you have. This is important because too much fertilizer promotes run off, which then pollutes groundwater sources.
- If you have a large space to landscape, minimize the amount of grass you lay so that less water needed to maintain it. A desert-style approach to garden design will cut down on costs and water waste; yet still provide a beautiful outdoor living area.
- Conserve water by using a drip irrigation system, popular in desert climates, to put water exactly where it is needed in your flower beds and vegetable gardens. This is preferable to a spray system that distributes water haphazardly, losing much of it to evaporation.
- Reuse and recycle what you already have (and might be throwing away) to grow flowers, succulents and other greens, instead of buying new pots and planters. Here are a couple of great ideas using old paint cans, tires, milk cartons and even rain boots!