Green Your Backyard

 

To some, going green seems to be the latest fad. But unlike the ever-changing styles in shoes, cars and clothing, this “fad” is great for the environment, and will return benefits to you and your family. Follow these tips to start greening your backyard!

Organic :

Earth-friendly gardening is not about the kind of plants you grow, rather it focuses on the way you grow them. The biggest differences between organic and non-organic gardening are the types of and pest control used. Organic gardening only applies animal or vegetable fertilizers, such as compost, instead of ones. Organic matter gives soil organisms something to eat. These organisms break down the soil and and turn it into digestible items for your plants. Many organic gardeners even make their own compost from kitchen and yard waste, thereby not only nourishing the soil, but also reducing the amount of trash their households produce!

Organic gardeners also choose all-natural methods to ward off pesky insects. Instead of spraying dangerous chemicals to kill unwanted insect life, predatory insects such as ladybugs or lacewings can remove the bugs that damage flowers and plants. You can attract these predatory insects with plants like fennel, dill, allysum and cumin.

The type of plants you choose to include in your garden is another important consideration for organic gardening. Increase the natural health of your soil by finding plants that thrive in your geographic area. Also, alternate what you plant year by year to help create a mini-ecosystem in your backyard!

Eco-Friendly Lawn Care

Now that we’ve taken a look at organic gardening, let’s focus on Earth-friendly lawn care. Start with the kind of in your lawn. Just like your garden, it is important to choose that will thrive in your climate. People living in the North and Pacific Northwest, who deal with cool and humid climates, should plant fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. For those living in the warm and humid South or Southwest, zoysia, Bermuda and St. Augustine grasses are the best choices. People living in the cool and semi-arid Plains should plant Buffalo .

After finding the best grass for your area, it’s time to make sure your soil is nutrient rich and healthy. As with your garden, use organic products instead of synthetic fertilizers to feed your lawn. This will be a larger investment to begin with, but will pay off in the end. Synthetic fertilizers do not last as long as organic ones, which means you have to reapply a synthetic fertilizer more often. Make sure to sweep your fertilizer off the sidewalks or driveways and back onto your lawn to prevent water pollution. Both synthetic and organic fertilizers can cause water pollution if they wash down into storm drains instead of feeding your lawn.

Natural Landscaping

It may sound counterproductive, but reducing the amount of lawn in your yard is a great energy and water conservation method. A smaller lawn means less mowing, which in turn means less energy, whether electric or gas-powered, is used. A smaller lawn also translates into less water consumption. Watering grass uses more water than flower beds, or even vegetable gardens.

Now, you’re ready to transform your backyard into an eco-friendly wonderland! Head to your nearest gardening store or nursery and start planning. When your flowers, vegetables and lawn are in full bloom you’ll be glad you took the time to landscape by going green.

Earth-friendly gardening

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