environmentally friendly choices for their renovations and décor, but did you know you can also make your landscaping more sustainable? Having a green garden might not mean growing a bright green lawn. There are lots of ways to give your landscape an eco-friendly makeover that can also make your garden a more colorful place to hang out with friends and family. Here’s how to do it:
Conserve Water with Drought-Resistant Plants
That massive expanse of green lawn is beautiful if you can stay on top of maintaining it, but you’ll end up using a lot of water to do so. If you live in a drought-prone area, your lawn might be using up precious water needed elsewhere, and a water restriction will leave you with a brown landscape anyway.
Try replacing some of your lawn with drought-resistant plants that don’t require as much water to thrive. These can be groundcovers for large expanses, but you can also take small bites out of your lawn by adding border gardens filled with colorful bulbs and perennials. If you don’t love flowers, a herb garden is a useful, low-maintenance alternative.
Water Carefully When Required
All plants require at least some water, and you will probably have to irrigate your lawn or garden plants at some point, even if you’ve replaced some of them with water sippers instead of guzzlers. You can conserve water in your garden by watering only when plants begin to droop instead of on a set schedule – a deep watering is more beneficial than a daily sprinkling.
You can also add a layer of mulch around foundation plantings, flowers and garden vegetables, which will help hold in moisture for longer. It’s also a good idea to water plants directly with a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler system, which allows water to evaporate into the air more easily.
Add Eco-Friendly Hardscapes
If you’re planning a major overhaul of your backyard landscaping to add a new patio, deck or pathways, consider your materials carefully. Permeable pavers will allow rainwater to seep into the ground instead of running off, or try paths made of gravel or crushed shells, which allow water to seep into the ground.
You can also choose naturally rot-resistant woods like cedar or teak instead of chemical-laden, pressure-treated boards for outdoor building projects. Finally, you can make your fencing a little greener if you grow a living fence instead: Try a wall of fast-growing arbor vitae or an edible hedge made of highbush blueberries or raspberry brambles instead.
Avoid Chemical Fertilizers
Grass lawns are notorious for requiring loads of fertilizer, so reducing the size of your yard is a good way to cut back on your chemical fertilizer habit. Try using organic fertilizers and compost on your lawn and garden plants. You can also reduce your need to fertilize at all by choosing native plants that have evolved to thrive in your area of the country. These plants often don’t need any special care and are a great low-maintenance option that will also attract native species of birds and butterflies to your backyard.
As you consider your eco-friendly landscaping choices, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to make every one of these changes at once to make a difference. Try starting with just one project now, and you’ll make your garden a more environmentally friendly place this season. If you gradually make changes, you’ll be making a great start down the road to a more sustainable future.
This is a guest post written by Megan Ray Nichols.
Megan Ray Nichols is passionate about environmental issues. She is the editor of Schooled by Science, a blog dedicated to breaking down complex scientific topics into understandable pieces. Now that you’ve learned more about declining bee populations, you might be interested to learn more about climate change.