green living for your yard

Green Living Tips for Your Yard

Few things satisfy the average homeowner more than a lush green lawn. For homeowners with a more ecological bent, however, the real triumph is achieving an attractive yard in an environmentally friendly way. The good news is that green lawn and yard care is not all that different from standard outdoor practices. If you want to grow a green lawn in every sense of the word, try implementing some of the following tips.

Apply Natural Fertilizers

Fertilizers can be great for grass and flowerbeds, but rain pushes the chemicals into areas where they aren't welcome, such as lakes and rivers. It is possible, however, to enjoy the benefits of fertilizers - weed prevention and lawn support - while remaining environmentally friendly. You can find organic fertilizers at most nurseries or home improvement stores, which in addition to feeding your grass can also ward off fungus and stabilize your lawn during droughts. All-natural fertilizers reduce the environmental impact, making them worth the additional cost.

Install Motion Sensors

If you are concerned with home security, you may want leave yard lights on at night, but doing so can waste a significant amount of electricity. Instead, switch to motion-sensor lights that illuminate in response to movement. This simple change can reduce outdoor energy expenses by as much as 30 percent.

Forget About Power Tools

Many people use a hose to power wash dirt and debris away from driveways, patios, and walkways, but a simple broom is just as effective and doesn't waste water. Along the same lines, there's no need to waste gasoline on a leaf blower when a rake can perform the same job with no outside energy inputs required.

Use Solar Lights

For those who want to illuminate a garden, flag, or other focal point of their yard, solar-powered lights are a helpful option. They charge all day from the sun and use that solar energy to provide clean light at night, reducing the need for additional electricity.

Plant Trees Around the Property

Planting a tree does more than improve the aesthetic appeal of a neighborhood. It also cleans the air by absorbing carbon dioxide, while providing shade and windbreaks for your property. Local nurseries can help homeowners find trees for any space, and many cities offer rebate incentives for purchasing and planting trees.

Keep Equipment in Top Shape

Existing equipment will be more efficient and less of an environmental concern if it is properly maintained. This should include:

  • Sharpening any applicable blades
  • Replacing old parts when necessary
  • Replacing or cleaning air filters to reduce exhaust

Homeowners should establish a maintenance schedule and follow it strictly to make sure nothing is missed.

Keep the Landscaping Variable

Growing just one type of plant in your garden or landscaping is sure to draw pests that are attracted to its offerings. Mixing up the plantings makes the space less desirable to pests and pushes them to go elsewhere. Furthermore, proper landscaping not only adds plants that replace harmful carbon dioxide with oxygen, it can also occupy lawn space previously reserved for grass. This means less space to mow and/or water, which reduces the environmental footprint.

Avoid Pressure-Treated Wood

Homeowners looking to construct a fence, shed, or deck may be drawn to pressure-treated wood because it is inexpensive and readily available – but it is also bad for the air we breathe. The chemicals that 'treat' the wood will slowly enter the atmosphere as the structure ages, harming the environment as well as those who breathe in the chemicals. Untreated wood options may be slightly more expensive, but the health and environmental benefits outweigh the cost.

Seek Alternatives to Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass is the most commonly found grass in yards across the country. While it has positive qualities, it also requires a lot of water to grow well. Homeowners looking to reduce their water usage can find alternative grass options at their neighborhood nursery. Opting to plant a native grass instead of Kentucky bluegrass can lead to less watering and easier maintenance.

Find the Right Mower

Just like an old car can release excessive emissions into the air, the same is true of older mowers. Modern EPA-friendly mowers release fewer emissions than their predecessors and include carbon filters to capture excess hydrocarbons. Also, electric mowers and other gas-free options are cheaper to use, running for as little as one quarter the cost per acre as gas mowers. Manual push mowers, of course, consume no energy at all, with the exception of your own labor.

Leave Grass Clippings Where They Lie

Raking up grass clippings denies the lawn an important natural fertilizer. As grass clippings decompose, their nutrients go back into the soil. Leaving the clippings to fertilize the lawn also prevents them from being added to the waste at a landfill site.

Use the Right Soil for the Job

The amount of water your lawn requires depends in part on the constitution of your soil. Yards with sandier soil need additional watering compared to clay-based soil yards. However, sandy soil yards should be watered in shorter bursts because the roots absorb water more quickly. In general, it would be a good idea to learn more about your home's soil to avoid water waste in the future.

Conserve Water in Your Plantings

To reduce the amount of water spent on fresh plantings, plant smart. Start by planting native species that are used to the amount of rain your area typically receives. This will prevent additional watering from being necessary to keep the plant alive. Apply composite to the soil to retain moisture as well.

Water Effectively

Watering the lawn during the afternoon hours results in most of the water evaporating in the heat. This wasteful practice does little to nourish the lawn. Instead, water at night or before the sun rises to allow the grass to retain the majority of the moisture without losing it to evaporation. Automated sprinkler systems can support these watering practices without forcing homeowners to alter their sleep schedule.

A green lifestyle doesn't end at the front door. There are many things homeowners can do outside of the home to protect the environment they love and keep it looking healthy for the next generation.

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