When you hear the word “landscaping” what do you think of? Do you think of topiaries and flowerbeds and perfectly mowed lawns? Or do you think of a thriving garden that allows you to grow most (or maybe even all, if you’re a vegetarian) of your food yourself? There are lots of ways to landscape a yard. Unfortunately, not all of them are sustainable or environmentally friendly.
In this article, we’ll teach you some of the ways that you can landscape your property without harming the environment.
Prune In the Winter
The best time to get out your ladder and inspect your trees is after all of the leaves have fallen off of the trees and revealed their underlying branches. As Joe Lamp’l writes in his post about how to prune a tree, it is when the trees are bare that you get your best chance to really inspect those branches and trunks. He goes on to explain that, in addition to the improved visualization, most disease pathogens are inactive during the colder months, which means that your trees and shrubs will have a better chance to heal before the weather warms up and those invasive pathogens try to kill your plants.
You know important it is to “shop local” and stimulate your neighborhood and city’s economy. It’s also important to limit your garden to plants that grow naturally in your local environment. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still try to grow those flowers, herbs or even veggies at all. It just means that you will have better luck growing them in containers or in a greenhouse (building your own small yard-sized greenhouse is pretty easy). The plants you plant directly into the ground on your property, though, those need to be locals. Locals are better suited to the soil, the temperatures and the humidity levels where you live. Trying to grow something else could throw off the balance of the ground surrounding it, rendering it unusable!
Compost is Your Friend
Instead of using expensive fertilizers and chemicals to help your plants and lawn grow, use compost! Compost piles are incredibly simple to build off in a corner of your yard (you can even build them in containers). Then, when you want to add some nutrients to the soil in your yard, container planters or garden, use the mulch that is created in your compost pile. Compost piles are all natural and they reduce the amount of refuse that you might otherwise send to a landfill.
Mind Your Walkways
You probably have a front walk, right? You might even have a paved path weaving through your backyard or around the sides of your house. Paths and walkways are great! They’re decorative and help keep us out of what might be a very muddy yard, depending on the time of the year. Do not use solid concrete or cement for these walkways. Instead, use what are called permeable pavers. Permeable pavers are paving stones that are made out of layers of concrete that are jointed together with tiny stones. Water can seep through these joints as well as the graded gravel base that gets laid down below the stones and into the earth below the walkway. This helps keep the natural water cycle in your yard intact.
To reduce the amount of water that you use to water your garden, there are a couple of things you can do:
- Collect rainwater in a rain barrel. These are very simple to set up and totally safe to use (as long as you keep them clean).
- Choose plants for your landscaping that do not need to be watered very often (this is especially important if you want to put down a lawn).
These are just some green landscaping tips that you can implement this year. What are some of the others that you’ve tried?