The backyard is the crown jewel of every home. It’s where you enjoy barbeques in the summer, where your kids built snowmen in the winter, and where you enjoy the sunshine in the spring. But could your backyard be doing more harm than good for the local environment? If you are looking to reduce your environmental footprint, here are some easy ways to make your backyard more eco-friendly:
Rethink Your Lawn
A luscious, green lawn is what immediately comes to most people’s mind when they think of a well-maintained backyard. To stay in good shape, lawns prefer a mild, damp climate that doesn’t have many variations in temperature. If the climate in your region isn’t naturally like this, chances are you will need to use chemicals and intensive irrigation to keep your grass happy.
If you aren’t ready to completely get rid of your lawn, there are some measures you can take to reduce its impact on the environment. To start, try using a manual push mower instead of its gasoline- burning sibling. This reduces the amount of emissions and gas spills that will likely occur on your lawn. For some natural fertilizer, use fall leaves to your advantage! By letting the leaves remain on the ground, the soil benefits from the natural decomposition without the need for any harsh chemicals.
This concept aims to reduce the need for supplemental water from irrigation through the strategic choice and placement of plants. An easy way to start doing this is by purchasing native plants that are already accustomed to the local growing conditions. These plants will be able to withstand extreme weather conditions and blend in nicely to the existing landscaping. Xeriscaping also uses the natural angles of your yard when deciding where plants should be placed. In doing this, plants that require more moisture are placed at the bottom of inclines so that they receive the most runoff from precipitation.
Use Solar Lighting
Power your outdoor lighting by using one of the most renewable energy sources: the sun! Solar lighting is a great alternative to electrical lighting because of its increased flexibility and cost efficiency. Having outdoor electrical wiring is limiting when you want to switch up the layout of your garden and can lead to costly electricity bills. Solar lights can be purchased at your local hardware store and are very easy to install. Do note that during overcast days, the bulb will not have as much chance to charge so the amount of light will be reduced.
This solution helps reduce your household’s food waste and results in a chemical-free fertilizer for your plants. If you’re interested in composting but don’t know where to start, an easy way to begin is by having a small container in your kitchen. When the container becomes full, place the contents into a larger container in your garden. Make sure to wash the container with some vinegar before placing more compost inside to avoid an “earthy” smell developing in your kitchen.
The next time you need to re-do the paving around your house, consider a rubberized solution. The material is made out of 100% recycled tires and the installation is much easier than traditional paving. It is usually placed on top of existing surfaces so it also prevents concrete from ending up in the landfill.