Earth day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on determining the actions we can each take to help our shared home stay healthy. Making eco-friendly choices with your landscape will provide you with a visually appealing, functional and enjoyable outdoor living space AND will also have positive effects for the environment by: reducing water consumption; pollution caused by water run-off; using less heating and cooling power; helping pollinators and wildlife ecosystems; and lowering maintenance requirements.
If you need assistance creating your sustainable eco-friendly landscape, click here to make an appointment with a landscape designer.
Consider implementing some of these eco-friendly ideas into your outdoor living space:
Use native plants that require less water to protect our waterways and to provide ecosystems for chirping birds, busy pollinators and local wildlife. You will also reduce the effects of harmful invasive species on the local environment.
Add strategically placed deciduous trees to: reduce pollution and ozone; trap dust/smog; reduce water run-off and erosion; provide cooling shade from summer heat; allow the sun’s warming rays to shine through its branches in the winter and protect buildings from cold winds; and to reduce electrical usage in the summer and winter.
Harvest and use rainwater for your outdoor watering needs.
Invest in a sprinkler system and use plants with similar water/light requirements in the same “zones” to reduce water waste.
Create nutrient-rich compost; recycle your dried leaves, kitchen scraps and biodegradable materials and use as a soil amendment, moisture holding mulch, lawn top dressing and compost tea (not for human consumption).
Reduce your turf area to reduce water usage and runoff, chemicals/fertilizer usage, water pollution and maintenance. Replace eliminated turf with PERMEABLE surfaces such as:
*Native low-water wildflowers
*Hardy ground covers that are drought tolerant and low growing
*Mulch or river rock
*Real-looking synthetic turf
*Moss for shady areas
*Use the “Dry Laid” method for installing walkways. An example of “dry
laid” would be to place flagstone on a bed of gravel and sand, and the
spaces between each flagstone are filled with a permeable material.
*Create a “ribbon” driveway which has a strip of grass between the
Permeable tracks that hold your vehicle.
Add attractive features that require no water, such as rock gardens, benches, putting greens and gazebos.
Sweep dirt and debris from your driveway instead of washing it down.
Aerate soil to allow water to run down into the ground and not run-off.
Promote water retention in the soil by using mulch, gravel, compost, wood chips or bark around plants.
Use a moisture meter to help determine your plant’s moisture requirements.