How to Make Your Lawn Eco-Friendly
Being environmentally conscious has never been more important, but if you think that making your lawn more eco-friendly will take a lot of work, you might be surprised. When it comes to landscaping, being environmentally friendly often goes hand-in-hand with saving time and money. Use these tips to create a lawn that's not only low-maintenance but also helps make the world a little greener.
- Collect Rainwater
Every drop of rain that falls on your roof could easily be used to nourish your lawn and garden. A simple system that uses your gutters to direct rainwater into collection barrels is cheap, easy to install, and will provide you with ample water for your lawn (depending, of course on your climate). It's also worth noting that any reports you might have heard about collecting rainwater being illegal are most likely greatly exaggerated. In most states, it's completely legal to harvest rainwater, and you can learn more about the states that do have rainwater regulations here.
- Mow Grass a Little Taller
If you're accustomed to cropping your grass close to the ground, you might want to consider raising the deck on your lawn mower an inch or two. Cutting grass taller allows it to retain more water and better withstand drought conditions. It also allows the grass to grow deeper and thicker, which helps ward off pests, weeds and disease. And when your grass is healthy enough to resist these threats on its own, you're less likely to have to use chemical pesticides.
- Choose Native Plants
When you're looking for trees, shrubs, flowers and other plants to add to your landscape, be sure to choose native species. Native plants provide a habitat for your local birds, butterflies and other beneficial wildlife. Plus, because native plants are already adapted to your particular climate, soil type and rainfall levels, they require little to no additional irrigation or fertilizer. Check out this handy guide to finding native plants in any region in the U.S.
- Water Wisely
Watering your lawn the right amount at the right time helps your grass utilize much more of the water you give it so that very little goes to waste. Water your lawn only when it really needs it, and use recycled water whenever possible. When you do irrigate your lawn, it's best to give it plenty of water only once or twice a week, as opposed to a little bit every day. Water your lawn in the morning to minimize the amount of water that is lost to evaporation.
- Save Your Grass Clippings
Roughly 10 million tons of yard trimmings end up in landfills every year, according to the EPA. On the upside, an increasing number of homeowners are choosing to recycle their yard waste, and it's not hard to do. Grass clippings are an ideal addition to any compost bin, adding the crucial "green" element alongside "brown" elements like dried leaves and straw. Another great option is to mulch your grass as you mow, allowing it to lie on the lawn and break down naturally, returning its nutrients to the soil.
- Avoid Pesticides
You know what they say: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." That's certainly true when it comes to pest control. The best way to keep pests at bay is to avoid the conditions in which they thrive by promoting strong grass and healthy soil. It's best to avoid pesticides entirely if possible, but if they do become necessary, use the least toxic pesticides you can find to avoid unnecessarily killing beneficial insects and microorganisms.
- Plant Groundcovers
Groundcovers are plants that hug the ground, and typically require little to no irrigation or fertilizer. The best part is you don't have to mow them. While you probably wouldn't want to replace your entire yard with groundcovers, they're great for places where grass has a hard time growing (deep shade) and where mowing is difficult (steep slopes). You can also plant them in garden beds, along fences and paths, and anywhere you'd rather not mow anyway. You'll end up spending less time on your lawnmower, and add some interesting textures to your landscape as a bonus.
- Promote Healthy Soil
Providing natural mulch and compost will go a long way toward keeping your soil healthy. Still, you may find yourself needing to apply commercial fertilizer on occasion. When you do, be sure to choose organic, eco-friendly fertilizers that are phosphorous-free. Carefully follow the instructions on the packaging, and only apply when rainfall is not expected within the next 24 hours.
We're always happy to share our knowledge to help make your lawn greener, cleaner and more eco-friendly. To learn more, contact us today to locate a Hustler dealer near you!