Now that warmer weather is here, many people find themselves trying to create a more eco-friendly yard and garden. Here are a few ideas for you:
Consider replacing grass with eco-friendly alternatives
Though grassy lawns are the suburban standard for landscaping beauty, they aren’t eco-friendly. Lawns require a lot of water and care and the only payoff is that they look pretty (to some). You can still have a beautiful yard without your lawn, however. Have you considered the benefits of an edible front or back yard? Imagine being able to pick veggies or herbs for dinner right from your front porch. Check out this amazing transformation from a grassy front yard, to an edible knot garden.
If you aren’t interested in planting anything, and want to keep some of your lawn, try a decorative rock garden, planted with a few native trees or shrubs, and some flowering plants. Rock gardens are great for the budget, especially in areas were natural rocks are abundant (like here in Central Oregon, where we have tons of volcanic rock!).
Be savvy about irrigation
When it comes to watering your lawn, make sure you know your city’s irrigation regulations. Stick to the rules – repeated violations can lead to fines. These irrigation regulations help cut back on water usage, which helps the community, the environment, and your pocketbook.
To further reduce your water use, try low-pressure drip hoses, which can reduce water usage by up to 70%. If you are able, attach livestock tanks to rain gutter downspouts, to catch rain water. You can also dump the gray water from your house into this tank. Rain and gray water are a cheap and green way to irrigate your lawn and garden.
Compost, compost, compost
Compost fertilizes the soil, and won’t burn your lawn or crops like chemical fertilizers. Best of all, it is made from organic materials, and is non-toxic, so it won’t harm children or pets playing on the lawn or in the garden. It is easy to make your own compost (which reduces your trash output).
Keep pests out the natural way
Instead of using dangerous chemical poisons, try deterring pests the natural way. Save cut hair and spread around your garden, or hang it from trees in muslin bags to keep deer and rabbits away. Marigolds planted between vegetables in the garden will deter many insects while adding decorative value. Click here for more useful tips.
Plant native foliage and crops that thrive in the area
Using native plants is a wonderful way to add visual interest to your garden while keeping your garden eco-friendly. Native plants reduce irrigation, and are low-maintenance, as they are already accustomed to the climate. These plants will keep your water bill down, and will require much less upkeep.
This post was updated from my previously published article over at Examiner.