Eco-Friendly Landscaping

Earth friendly landscaping
Photo credit: Simon Berry/Flickr Creative Commons

Eco-friendly landscaping is all about ways to minimize how resources are used in a yard or a garden. To create an eco-friendly landscape design, consider the amount of water needed to maintain plant life, conservation of materials and the health of the soil. Use these landscaping tips to transform your yard into an earth-friendly oasis.

Replacing Your Lawn

The traditional grass lawn is costly to maintain year after year. To significantly reduce the amount of water usage and the cost both to your wallet and the environment, consider replacing your grass lawn with synthetic turf. Other options include groundcover (low-growing plants that don’t need cutting), clover, or ornamental grasses (for smaller yards or partial grass lawn replacement).

Reducing Your Lawn

Not ready to give up your lawn? Reducing the size of your lawn by 20 percent can make your yard more eco-friendly. Replace grass sod in your front yard or back yard with a deck made of reclaimed wood, plant beds, a vegetable garden, a rock garden, or low-impact pathways.

Types of Plants

Nix the annuals; opt instead for native perennials as these will require less upkeep, including the amount of fertilizer needed. Choose low-maintenance plants and shrubs, ones that don’t involve being pruned, regularly divided or staked as they grow in height.

Strategic Tree Planting

Planting certain types of trees and ensuring they are placed strategically on your property can help reduce or even eliminate the need for air conditioning. For example, planting deciduous trees (shed leaves in fall) on the west and south sides of your home provide shade from the sun. Shrubs planted close to the foundation or evergreen trees on the north and west property lines will act as a windbreaker.

Water Conservation

Reducing lawn space or replacing traditional grassy areas with plant beds, will decrease the amount of water used. But there are other ways to conserve water.

  • Know when to water the lawn – if you step on it and the blades of grass spring back, it’s not thirsty right now
  • Put a layer of mulch (at least two inches deep) around trees, shrubs and plants – this will slow the water evaporation rate
  • If you use sprinklers or an automated system, ensure that they are positioned correctly – if they’re watering pavement, water is being wasted