How to Use Eco-Friendly Landscaping
Everyone wants a nice green yard that is the envy of all the neighbors, but there are some unfortunate environmental consequences to maintaining landscaping like that. As our society learns the true price of our landscaping choices, many are looking to find eco-friendly solutions that still look good.
As we strive to create picture perfect landscaping, we’re using a lot of resources, money and often harmful chemicals. Like we often do, many of us focus on how things look and our own immediate needs rather the long term implications of our choices.
Large, lush lawns might look good, but they are a drain on resources and can harm the environment more than we can easily see. According to the EPA, here’s how:
- Pollution: The small engine equipment we use to maintain lawns like lawn mowers, leaf blowers and weed whackers pump a lot of air pollution. They are thought to account for 5% actually.
- Pesticides and Fertilizers: Residential pesticides are used at almost 20 times that of what farmers use per acre.
- Waste: Grass clippings and solid waste from yards account for 20% of landfills.
- Water: Lawns absorb water at 10% less capacity than woodland or more natural environmental landscaping.
What Can You Do?
In areas where natural rainfall doesn’t keep your lawn green and lush, the amount of water you need to use to maintain a lawn can not only be expensive but also be detrimental to the environment. So, the best thing to do is to use native landscaping. Instead of trying to make a lawn and other landscaping conform to a foreign environment, use plants that naturally grow where you live.
So if you’re clinging to that big lawn in Phoenix, maybe it’s time to take a step back and rethink your choices.
The use of drought resistant plants is key to making an eco-friendly yard. In dryer environments, plants like cactus and yucca are great choices. In more temperate climates ornamental grasses, asters, pansies, marigolds and tulips are all low maintenance plants. Clover also is great because it’s insect resistant and helps fight weeds.
In addition to minimizing the use of turf, you can also compost and mulch as much solid yard waste as possible. Not only will you be able to create useful mulch for your yard and garden, but you’ll cut back on how much waste you’re sending to the landfill.
While it may not be the first thing you think of, many people also install synthetic turf. This will cut back on water bills, reduce yard waste and pollution while also allowing you to have a somewhat traditional looking lawn.
Eco friendly landscaping doesn’t stop at just what you use to cover the ground in your yard. If you play your cards right and your natural environment lends a hand, you can also use trees to affect your heating and cooling bills.
Shade from trees on certain parts of your house can reduce your need to use air conditioning. Likewise, trees positioned properly can block winter winds that suck heat from your house.