Monday, February 1, 2010

Ten Steps to Environmentally Friendly Landscaping

By Sonia C Llesol

When making homes more eco-friendly, most homeowners begin inside the house, such as choosing energy-efficient appliances and compact fluorescent bulbs. But there are also many chances that exist outside the home to make sure that we are being environmentally responsible such as doing environmentally friendly landscaping.

Eco-friendly landscaping saves time, water and money. A truly green garden and yard also spells out less work. Conventional landscaping wastes a lot of water and needs pesticides. Environmentally friendly landscapes require less water and less chemical involvement. Instead of using pesticides that are harmful to nature, you can apply some basic wisdom to integrate your yard with the natural ecosystem.

Tips on an Environmentally Friendly Landscaping:

1. The best way to green your garden is planting the right plants in the right place. Plants naturally like to grow based on soil, sun and water. Choose plants that naturally grow in your area and more likely to attract native birds, butterflies and bees which will enhance the beauty of your garden and helps it grow. In choosing the spots for your plants, take into consideration how big they will grow and give enough room for them to grow to their natural size. This can create a shade for your garden and saves you money on cooling costs.

2. Reduce the size of your lawn and replace with diverse landscape beds. Reducing your turf saves energy, mowing time, water consumption and lessens the need for fertilizers.

3. Lessen your pesticide use and try to improve your soil so plants will grow healthy and discourage pests and diseases. Before using chemicals, take some time to identify the problem and research for ways to manage it without using chemicals. You can ask your local nursery for more details about this.

4. Build a rain garden. This is not only a great way to utilize your yard's existing topography but they do wonders on reducing water pollution and storm water runoff.

5. Leave the grass clippings on your yard instead of bagging them to be sent to a landfill. Begin a compost pile to recycle dead flowers, fallen leaves and plant cuttings.

6. Establish a wildlife habitat that provides home for butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects. Consider trees or plants with berries, flowers and fruits. Fuschias and trumpet vines attract hummingbirds. Beneficial insects are drawn by sunflowers, thyme, alyssum, calendula and snowberry.

7. Exercise natural lawn care by mowing the lawn on a high setting in order to develop deeper roots and push out weeds. Mow your lawn regularly to remove only one-third of the length of the grass each time you mow. Cutting too much in one setting stresses the grass.

8. Choose absorbent materials for your patios, walkways and paths. Absorbent patios and walkways let rainwater to be captured by soil and then returned to aquifers where it will be purified instead of being shipped out to the ocean filled with pollutants that could harm the marine life.

9. Source your landscaping materials locally. You may not have an idea of how far your ornamental rock has to travel to get to your yard. There is a lot of environmental impact in harvesting that rock and as transportation rates continue to rise, it is more sensible to look for materials in your locality and recycle as much as possible.

10. Plan and design your eco-friendly landscape on paper. Through this you will be able to save on costs and maintenance on your landscaping. A professional will be able to make suggestions and help you choose the right plants and techniques on improving the quality of the soil and increase the irrigation efficiency of your yard.

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