Sustainable Landscaping: Lower Energy Costs, Help the Environment

When was the last time you considered how much your landscaping was actually costing your family? Sure, it might look luxurious and colorful, but is it sustainable? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at least 30 percent of American water use is solely for outdoor irrigation. Maintaining an energy-efficient backyard could not only cut water usage, but also reduce packaging waste and fuel costs of landscaping crew’s transportation and equipment usage. These tips will help you green your landscaping and save money at home.

Dual Plumb Your Property

A growing trend in green landscape design and new home construction is introducing a dual-plumbed system to the property. This system enables water from the inside to be filtered, treated and recycled for use in the yard, therefore reducing your overall water usage and expenditure. Sound like too big of a job to tackle? It may be easier than you think. You can rent a backhoe and follow these installation tips for this eco-friendly plumbing project.

Choose Native Plants

Indigenous trees, shrubs and plants are more likely to acclimate to natural environmental conditions of your area. In addition, you can plant foliage that require very little watering. Plants such as succulents, cactus and evergreen varieties enjoy a long lifespan and are exceptionally drought-tolerant. If planted strategically throughout your property, they may even provide temperature-control advantages during certain times of the year. For those of you who love a DIY yard, dive into an introduction to permaculture—the use of native plants for landscaping—at The Permaculture Institute.

Photo of succulents by brewbrooks via Flickr

Install Synthetic Eco-Grass

New synthetic grasses feel just like real grass but don’t need watering, mowing or fertilizing. Another advantage is that they don’t experience the occasional rot or burnout associated with sunnier months. A synthetic grass will reduce water, eliminate the fuel that would otherwise be used to power a mower or blower and discontinue use of any harmful chemicals for pest control. Some cities even offer financial incentives to homeowners installing green landscaping—check with your local city government.

Start a Neighborhood Lawn Care Share

Photo by taylor.a via Flickr

For those areas of your yard that do need regular tending, consider sharing the resources among neighbors to avoid excess product packaging and reduce trips to the store.

  • Recycle plastic garden pots and flats
  • Share large tools with your neighbors to reduce overall cost
  • Buy mulch, compost and fill dirt in bulk to avoid throwing away multiple plastic bags
  • If you have live grass, stop bagging your lawn clippings and avoid bagging falling leaves. Use a gas-free reel mower to spread clippings and break apart leaves. Both will provide essential nutrients for your grass (so you can skip fertilizing) and will quickly decompose.
  • Consider starting a compost effort among neighbors.

 

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