Landscaping is all about using the diversity of nature to make your living space more beautiful. It’s a real kick in the teeth to Mother Earth to practice landscaping that’s not eco-friendly, or even worse, landscaping that actively harms local ecosystems. If you want to give thanks to nature for its bounty, you should do everything you can to respect, recycle, and conserve. Here are some tips for the eco-conscious landscaper.
Learn how to compost
Composting achieves two main goals: first, you find a use for all of your “waste” products, meaning you are actively doing your part to recycle and second, you create a nutrient-rich soil additive that will help your plants thrive. Composting is simple. At its core, all composting requires is organic matter, some moisture, and a container to hold it all in. A good composting bin requires some brown matter (dead leaves, grass clippings, wood ash) and some green matter (fresh grass, weeds, plants, and vegetable waste). All you have to do is create a good environment for bacteria and let nature do the rest. Here’s how to get started.
Focus on water conservation
There are dozens of tips and tricks to help you conserve water around your home, from the extremely simple (reuse cooking water or get a rain barrel to help recycle water for your plants) to the moderately simple (mulch as much as you can, as mulch prevents water evaporation and soil drying), and all the way to the mostly simple, but more labor intensive. For example, installing a drip irrigation system - defined as “a low pressure irrigation system in which nozzles are placed at the base of plants and water is applied very slowly. A highly efficient watering system both in terms of water and energy use” - takes some work but is still relatively simple. The point is that most water conservation tricks are pretty easy. Get started today.
Let those yard “weeds” grow
Many find plants like dandelions and clover to be nuisances - ugly weeds that destroy an otherwise beautiful landscape. But if you’re trying to be eco-friendly, getting rid of these common plants isn’t recommended.
For one, bees and other pollinators rely on dandelions as a food source during the early spring months when other blooms are scant. It’s also common practice to use herbicides to rid your yard of these plants without killing your grass. Pesticides and herbicides can wreak havoc on local insect populations - including the bugs that your local ecosystem needs for pollination. Forgo using anything ending in “-cide” in your yard and let (at least some of) the dandelions be.
Give up the gas
Using gas is not eco-friendly - whether it’s in our cars, boats, or lawn mowers and weed-eaters. The burning of fossil fuels is a cause of global warming, which has a negative effect on flora and fauna all around the world. If you want to do your part to reduce your carbon footprint, you should switch to non-gas-powered lawn mowers, like a reel or rotary mower. If your lawn is too thick and unruly for man-powered machines, try an electric model. It’s still not as zero-footprint as a rotary - but it’s miles ahead of gas-powered units.
Many of the gardening methods that help you be eco-friendly also help you save money in the long run. Composting, for example, means you’ll never have to buy another bag of compost or fertilizer again. Saving water helps your water bill, obviously. You’re allowed to practice these environmental techniques for a combination of selfish and eco-conscious reasons - we won’t tell if you don’t.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
Submitted by: Clara Beaufort
Dayton Community News