Eco-Friendly Landscaping Advice for Homeowners
When you own a home, your yard is a source of pride. However, a pristine lawn comes at a cost. Not only does a homeowner have to spend countless hours and dollars ensuring the grass stays lush and green, lawns consume a startling amount of water and have a generally negative impact on the ecosystem around it.
Just a few facts about lawns in America:
- American lawns occupy some 30-40 million acres of land.
- Lawnmowers account for some five percent of the nation’s air pollution.
- More than 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled during the refilling of lawn and garden equipment each year. That’s more than the oil that the Exxon Valdez spilled!
- American homeowners use 10 times the amount of pesticides and fertilizers per acre on their lawns as farmers do on crops.
- The majority of lawn chemicals are wasted due to inappropriate timing and application. The chemicals eventually run off and become a major source of water pollution.
- 30 to 60 percent of urban fresh water is used on lawns, and most of it is also wasted due to poor timing and application.
Instead of going for the traditional lawn, more and more homeowners are opting to landscape their yard in more ecologically friendly ways. Here’s how.
Xeriscaping in Drought-Prone Areas
Higher-than-average temperatures and patchy rainfall have lead to drought in many parts of America. In fact, states including South Carolina, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, California, Washington, and Oregon are all running out of water. People living in these areas, and even those living in less drought-prone states who simply want to save money on their water bills, can benefit from utilizing xeriscaping in their yards.
Xeriscaping requires little to no irrigation, so there’s less water waste for lush landscaping. Plants with similar watering needs are grouped together, so resources are easily shared. Xeriscaping also uses drought-resistant plants including succulents and cacti to help fill empty space. Mulching is also a key component to xeriscaping as it helps keep moisture in the soil and prevents evaporation. Mulching is also pretty useful when it comes to suppressing weeds. Before getting started working in your yard, make sure to purchase a good pair of garden gloves to use when handling plants and tools.
Use Native Plants and Foliage
Native plants aren’t always a part of xeriscaping, but most landscape architects and designers incorporate them into their plans. The reason we use native plants in eco-friendly landscaping is they do not need irrigation or fertilizers. While you may need to water them every once and a while, these plants have evolved to survive in your home’s environment. This also helps when it comes to cutting down on the amount of work and maintenance you have to put into your yard—good news for those of us who’d rather relax than do yard work! Finally, when you use native plants, you attract local wildlife for a healthier ecosystem all around.
Plant More Trees
Adding trees to your landscape helps in so many ways. First and foremost, they provide us with oxygen while absorbing carbon, which can offset your own emissions. Trees can take up a great deal of space, so that’s less room for lawns and turf. They create shade for the rest of your yard which helps prevent irrigation evaporation so plants receive more water. Mature trees can also add value to your property, so you can look forward to that if you ever have to put your home on the market. Finally, if you plant shade trees, you aren’t just making your yard more eco-friendly. Your home will also be more ecologically sound because shade trees cut down on heating and cooling costs and the amount of resources we use to power them.
If you want to make the earth a better place, a great place to start is your yard. Lawns are a huge waste of water, especially in drought-prone areas. Xeriscaping is a great alternative to a lawn because xeriscaped yards are designed to use less water. Adding native plants to your yard ensures they will survive without irrigation. Furthermore, planting more trees can help reduce the size of your lawn, reduce water waste, and even cut down your home’s power bill.
Author: Clara Beaufort