If you own a detached house, you have not only a building to maintain but also a yard. Lawn and landscape maintenance can be costly and chemical-laden, but the good news is there are more sustainable ways of maintaining your yard — both in terms of minimizing water use and contributing toward a healthier environment. Check out these five tips for a fuss-free, eco friendly lawn.
Outdoor water use is one of the biggest drains on summer water use, but there are ways to make the most of every drop. First and foremost, watering your lawn is an all-in-or-nothing affair for more types of grasses. So either you’ll need to water it effectively, or don’t water it at all (allowing some grasses to go dormant). If you decide to water your lawn, it’s more effective to water in the mornings when the temperatures are cooler and evaporation is less likely. Also, make sure you’re only watering your lawn (not the driveway or sidewalk, too). One other water saver for landscape areas is a rain barrel, which collects water from your roof and can be used to water shrubs and other plants.
Hold the H20
If you’ve long claimed that you have no green thumb, it could be that you’re actually overwatering instead of under-watering your plants. So, if you’ve been soaking your plants and they’re still not thriving, you might want to hold the H20. Those looking for a good indoor plant that requires very little water should investigate getting a succulent plant.
Selecting the right plants is half the battle of a healthy, eco-friendly lawn. Plants that are native to your climate require less watering and are more likely to survive summer’s heat and winter’s cold (here’s a quick search guide to plants native to North Carolina and here’s the list of plants you should avoid). And if you’re going to go through the effort to maintain a healthy plant, wouldn’t it also be nice to reap the fruits of your labor? Choose an edible plant that’s likely just as pretty to look at and you get the added bonus of adding more fruits or vegetables to your lunch or dinner.
Pile on the Compost
Most people apply fertilizer to maximize plant growth. But, rain often spreads fertilizer chemicals into local waterways, contributing to dead zones and harmful excess nitrogen. What’s a better solution? There’s organic fertilizer, which is made from natural materials such as animal manure or plant products and releases nutrients slowly over time. But a product that might pack an even greater punch is compost, a soil amendment that improves moisture and nutrient retention. The best part is while you can buy compost, you can also make it yourself.
Plan it Right
Use weather, environmental conditions and yard layout to your advantage. Map out your yard, nothing which areas get the most sun and shade. Choose plants accordingly and place them in order to maximize their potential for survival. A plant that’s meant for the shade is going to struggle if it’s directly in the sun — no matter how much water you provide. Also, large plants near your house can provide shade that lowers indoor temperatures.