November 10, 2016 Gardening Written by Megan Ray Nichols
Eco-friendly Tips for the Ultimate Backyard
Three out of four millennials said they would

pay a little more for an eco-friendly product. This trend is also seen in green housing, but homeowners shouldn’t stop with the building they live in and the products they buy. You can make your outdoor areas as eco-friendly as the inside of your home.

Create an eco-friendly lawn

When your lawn looks wilted or the dandelions are taking over, it’s tempting to add some treatments and fertilizers to help solve the problem. The issue is that some lawn treatments can actually cause more harm to the environment around your home, seeping into streams and ground water and impacting plants and animals in the area.

For an eco-friendly lawn, you should:

    • Choose the right type of grass. Ideally, you want a grass that is hardy and disease resistant, but that will grow in the area you need it to.

    • Use organic fertilizers. They will work with organisms in the soil rather than potentially contaminate ground water.

    • Water your lawn in the morning. If possible, collect rainwater to use for this purpose. If you have a large lawn, this may not be practical, so you could use a sprinkler system and set it on a timer.

Eco-friendly lawn care is fairly simply if you plan ahead for the needs of your grass and the growing season.

Use the natural environment to landscape

Consider the natural environment of different locations to create eco-friendly landscaping around your home. Here are a few tips:

    • Use wet areas to create a natural, eco-friendly water garden.

    • In areas that are shady, place plants that love the shade.

    • Grow organic fruits and vegetables, so you can also nourish your family. Cabbages can be particularly beautiful in landscaping.

    • Create areas for small animals to rest and drink water, such as butterfly bushes with a small water basin at their base.

If you’re not sure how to create an environmentally friendly landscape around your home, consult with a gardening professional for additional ideas.

Build or purchase a shed

If you’ve looked at eco-friendly buildings, you’ve probably heard about LEED certification. This simply means that the building has met the standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, which ensure a building is truly green.

To certify a home as LEED, or build an eco-friendly shed consider the following factors:

    • Building materials. For example, copper is a green building material that can help you acquire LEED certification. As an added bonus, many copper building products often exceed 80% recycled material. Other materials include, but aren’t limited to reclaimed wood, cordwood construction, and scrap steel.

    • Landscaping around the building. The landscaping you choose to surround your shed and home should be eco-friendly. Letting vines craw up the side of your shed will help keep it cool & complement your garden.

    • Consider installing solar panels for any lighting needed. A solar panel on the roof of your shed is an easy way to provide light in it. Installing a timer will help save energy if you forget to turn of the light!

There are many options available to create a green building. Use recycled material both inside and outside the shed. Remember to use materials that are recyclable in the future!

Plant trees

Many people avoid planting trees, but doing so comes with many benefits, such as:

    • Trees improve the overall appearance of your yard.

    • Mature trees offer shade, which can help you stay cool during the hot days of summer and avoid running energy-hungry air conditioners.

In addition, fruit and nut trees are an additional organic nutrition source for your family.

Start a compost pile

Composting is actually quite easy, and there are many reasons to do it. Here are a few tips:

    • Choose an area away from your home.

    • Add organic items — such as plant clippings, egg shells, fruit and vegetables — instead of throwing them in the trash.

    • Use the nutrient-rich compost to fertilize your garden.

If you prefer not to harbor a pile of compost in your yard, consider purchasing a barrel-like composting container that allows you to turn the compost with a crank handle.

Take things solar

If you plan to install a swimming pool or outdoor lighting, solar solutions are available to provide lighting. Consider the following tips:

    • Choose solar landscape lights over electric ones.

    • Add solar panels to run your swimming pool pump.

    • Purchase a solar pond pump for water gardens.

In addition to being greener, solar lighting and pumps allow you to save money by harnessing the natural — and free — power of the sun.

Reducing your carbon footprint is easier than you think. Combine any of these options and your backyard can be the ultimate eco-friendly escape!


This is a guest post written by Megan Ray Nichols.
nicholsheadshotMegan Ray Nichols is a science writer and the editor of Schooled By Science. She enjoys discussing scientific discoveries and exploring the world around her. Follow her on twitter @nicholsrmegan.