There’s no better and easier place to focus on the environment than your own backyard. With a few simple changes, you can save water, protect the environment, and bring in natural resources that benefit the planet and your kitchen. Try these sustainable landscaping tips to get started:
One of the first steps you should take to creating a sustainable yard is to eliminate harmful chemicals. Many fertilizers and pesticides contain ingredients that don’t just affect your backyard, but threaten the rest of the environment because of run-off into local waterways. Stick with organic, chemical-free fertilizers or rely on compost from your kitchen to help enrich your soil instead.
You can make your own natural pest deterrents with just a few items. A simple soap spray, for example, can help deter common garden pests like aphids. Combine two tablespoons of liquid soap with a gallon of water. Put it in a spray bottle, and spray on your affected plants.
One way to grow a more sustainable yard is by putting your landscaping to work doing double-duty. Besides filling your yard with a beautiful view, an edible garden can also help feed your family. Many edible plants make great landscaping additions. Leafy greens, like kale and colorful rainbow chard, fill up a garden bed perfectly before making its way into a delicious salad bowl. Fruit trees are another option, as they provide both shade for your yard and food for your kitchen.
Being able to eat some of your landscaping means that water will be used more sustainably to help your natural resource thrive. This is especially helpful if you live in a dry or drought-prone climate like my own in California.
Adding native plants and flowers to your garden is a sustainable landscaping practice that has many benefits for the environment. You’ll save water and use less energy to tend to plants. That’s because most native plants are low maintenance; they’ve developed resistance to common local diseases and pests. Native plants also help replenish natural habitats, which is beneficial to local wildlife like birds and insects.
You don’t have to tear out your lawn and stop growing your garden beds to save water. In fact, despite becoming popular in my own neighborhood, many no-water gardens can actually be damaging to the local ecosystem—which relies on shared ground water to thrive.
A better option is to find ways to cut back and conserve water use as much as possible without eliminating it entirely. Try to use hand water as much as possible rather than relying on a sprinkler system, which usually wastes and spreads it unevenly in your yard. Water the yard in the early morning hours after dawn or in the late afternoon or early evening, when the sun isn’t so hot against the ground. If you do use sprinklers, set them with timers to ensure you water your lawn as minimally as possible and at the best time of day.
Make It Nature Friendly
Welcoming nature’s pollinators into your garden is a way to practice sustainable landscaping. Bees and butterflies, which help plants and crops flower and grow, are becoming endangered due to loss of habitats and harmful chemical pesticides. Make your natural garden a safe place for them to thrive by planting flowers that attract them. Milkweed, for example, is the natural habitat of Monarch butterflies. Plant some in your backyard to help bolster the Monarch population in your own neighborhood.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to make these small changes, but they can all have a big impact. A more sustainable backyard is the first step toward a greener environment overall.
What do you do in your yard to keep green? Hit us up on Twitter with your ideas!
Image sources: Sher Warkentin
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.