Another option is to cover the ground with eco-friendly landscape cloth. Why use chemical fertilizers to improve the soil in your yard or garden when it is so easy to turn your kitchen leftovers into nutritious compost? In addition to enriching it with compost, be sure to aerate the earth regularly.
For the ultimate combo of nutrition and aeration, introduce an earthworm colony to your property. Natural predators such as ladybugs and lacewing flies will kill and eat insect pests rather than simply poisoning them -- and your yard. Ward off mosquitoes by getting rid of all sources of standing water. If you would like to install a water feature , try a circulating fountain that is powered with green solar energy, or a frog pond. The frogs will be happy to gobble up any mosquitoes for you.
Plant shrubs or bushes around your home to act as a natural wind barrier and insulator; this will keep you and your family naturally comfortable year round using less air conditioning and heating. Shade your porch or pergola from an excess of sun by planting vines preferably flowering, to add charming color and scent. Choose plantings that will attract pollinators — birds, bees, and butterflies. Green your outdoor hardscape, such as seating, retaining wall, deck, fence, and playground equipment.
Build these features out of sustainable materials like recovered wood fiber, recycled post-consumer plastic, or long-lasting locally gathered stone. Use low- to no-VOC paints and finishes. Illuminate your outdoor living space with solar lights or LEDs. Do your homework to make sure a given material is indeed eco-friendly. For example, while wood is a natural substance, not all types are created equal when it comes to sustainability. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council certification which proves the wood was sustainably grown and responsibly harvested.
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Fruit and vegetable waste as well as coffee grounds can be combined with dead leaves, grass trimmings, and other environmentally-friendly organic waste products to create a rich fertilizer for your plants. To avoid unwanted pests in your compost pile, don't use dairy, fish, or meat in your compost.
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Mulch can help protect your plants and soil, maintain soil moisture, and reduce weed growth. You can buy packaged mulch or use your own compost or grass trimmings.
To allow plant roots to breath, just be sure not to pile mulch more than three inches high around your plants or within one inch of tree trunks or plant stems. Choose pest-resistant plants. To avoid having to use pesticides and other harmful chemicals on your lawn or garden, choose plants not based on their ability to resist insects and fungi. Plan your landscaping based on your location. Before you get started, do a little research on which plants require lots of sun and which need shade, what kind of soil they need, and how much maintenance they require.
Then choose plants that will grow best in your particular environment. Choose hardy, drought-resistant plants.
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Certain plants are thirstier than others, so to conserve water, choose those that don't require heavy watering; planting in shady areas will also help minimize water consumption. Collect rain for watering. To further reduce water use, collect rainwater in special barrels or containers and use it to water your plants.
Stay on top of weeds. Pull weeds frequently to keep plants healthy and reduce pests. Grow native plants, or plants that thrive in your local environment. These will require less maintenance on your part, will adapt more easily to the soil and weather changes, and have a greater likelihood to live longer.
Mow and grow. Don't cut grass too short, but mow frequently. Instead of collecting clippings, leave them on the grass to help fertilize your lawn. Try natural fertilizers. Use natural, organic fertilizers, which tend to last longer than chemical-based products anyhow. If your lawn is prone to weeds or requires too much water to stay lush and green, it may be time to think about revamping your lawn. By replacing parts of your lawn with hardy plants that use less water, you'll conserve water while still maintaining an attractive yard. You can also seed patchy areas of the lawn with drought-resistant grass seed that requires less water.
Landscaping can be difficult work and even though the rewards are worth the effort, sometimes it pays to hire a green expert. Inquire specifically about their use of pest- and drought-resistant, lower-maintenance plants. Find out if they use organic fertilizers and other products, and what their stance is on pesticide use.
Once you find a company you're comfortable with, sit back, relax, and watch your lawn grow in a truly green fashion. Green Health.
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