We often mistakenly consider our backyards to be eco-friendly just because they are outside and the grass is growing. However “green” is much more than just a color and it implies how we use our resources, which plants we are planting, how we maintain the plants, and how we are treating the lawn. If you are interested in forming a firm friendship between your backyard and Mother Earth, read on for some useful tips about greening up your outdoor space.
A cluttered backyard is a one-way road to poor maintenance, and therefore it needs to be dealt with. The first thing you need to know about getting rid of the mess is that you shouldn’t create too much waste. Anything that can be recycled or repurposed should be recycled or repurposed. You can give some things to charity or call a company that does the recycling for you. As for the things you decide to keep, they should be stored properly. If you already have a shed, use it for storage, and if you don’t, there are many sustainable carports built out of eco-friendly materials which are recyclable.
Turn waste into compost
Garden flowers, plants, vegetables, and herbs need compost in order to thrive. Commercially available composts are often packed with chemicals that can harm the soil, and therefore you should avoid them. Instead, you can turn leaves, food waste (e.g. banana peels and eggshells) and newspapers into nutrient-rich compost.
Grow native plants
Exotic plants that are not used to your climate require more maintenance. That’s why you should plant native species that are already adapted to your environment. And by the environment, we mean your region. If you live in Australia, the United States, or any other larger country you should know that there are many different climates and soil types, and not all plants grow the same in every region.
Green up the hardscaping
A properly designed backyard includes both landscaping and hardscaping, and the latter one can be green as well. You should avoid concrete because it prevents water from flowing into the ground. Instead, use permeable pavers for driveways and pathways. Recycling materials such as bricks, planks, glass, stone and similar materials is a good alternative to buying new items for paths, fences, fire pits and similar.
Water with care
Water is one of the most precious resources of our planet and you shouldn’t use it recklessly. Here are some tips that will help you keep your backyard well-supplied with water while being responsible:
- Allow your lawn to go dormant in the summer heat instead of overwatering it. Let nature take its course.
- Use organic mulch around the trees and in flower beds to preserve soil moisture and prevent weeds.
- Collect rainwater for irrigation.
Get eco-friendly outdoor furniture
The first rule of eco-friendliness is to recycle/repurpose if you can, so if you have any old furniture pieces that can withstand the elements, try to make them appropriate for your backyard. Buying pre-loved is also a great option. If you have decided to go with entirely new furniture, opt for sustainable materials like recycled plastic or aluminum, or some types of wood like acacia and teak.
Use solar and energy-efficient lighting
Nightlights make the backyard even more beautiful in the dark than it is during daylight. However, electricity is neither cheap nor eco-friendly. You can use LED lamps or solar-powered lights to save energy. Unlike most of the old lamps and bulbs, these are recyclable.
Reduce fuel emissions
Mowing the lawn causes emissions that contribute to air pollution. Green garden landscaping means that you should reduce these emissions to the minimum. Replace your gasoline-burning mowers with electric-powered ones. You can also use manual tools, such as hand tools and push reel mowers. By mowing your lawn less frequently, you will save energy, reduce emissions, and help the soil remain cool and maintain moisture – everyone wins!
A green backyard goes way beyond a bright green lawn. If you are ready to practice eco-friendly landscaping, you should start by identifying bad habits and eliminating them one by one. Only then can you apply the eco-conscious principles of outdoor maintenance.