As you approach winter’s end, take the opportunity to mark this spring as the year you began to practice serious strategies for eco friendly living. You can “go green” nearly anywhere these days, at the office as well as at home. Or, as the snow melts, start right in your own backyard. Here are five design tips you can implement to create a more environmentally conscious backyard:
Planning. Consider the seasons as you begin to plan. Strategically planting plants and trees with temperature and weather fluctuations in mind helps you create a more eco friendly backyard by controlling energy costs in summertime as well as winter. If you plant deciduous trees, they will provide shade when the sun is at its hottest, but by the time the snow falls they will have lost their leaves, allowing sunlight to warm your house. Create a roof of live vines above your patio to keep you nice and cool during the heat. Planting wisteria provides a beautiful flowering canopy that enhances your backyard through its lovely odor.
Recycled building materials. Practice using your artistic capabilities by gathering up materials that would probably be discarded to decorate your backyard. Colored glass can be shattered and used to create beautiful mosaics. When building a deck, purchase wood from lumber yards that are approved by the Forest Stewardship Council. The FSC makes certain that sustainable forestry standards are practiced, especially when you are considering Cumaru decking. You can also purchase composite lumber made from recycled wood products.
Other recycling options. Use that bag full of lawn clippings collected after you mowed the lawn as mulch, which helps protect your plants from any temperature fluctuations that occur during the year. When removing old concrete from your sidewalk or patio, don’t throw just throw it away. Do a quick search for businesses in your area that will take the concrete off your hands and recycle it as an alternative to crushed stone that can be used for future landscapes uses.
Watch the water! Most people over-water their lawns. When making your planting plans, group plants that require similar amounts of water next to each other so you can water your backyard at different intervals. When selecting an irrigation system, be sure that the one you ultimately choose contains water efficiency or water saving features built in, such as the ability to automatically adjust its watering times to coincide with changes in the weather. Use a low volume sprinkler to prevent water waste and too much runoff.
Use native or edible plants. When you visit a plant nursery, select plants that will thrive in your backyard. That way you won’t use too much fertilizer or over-water them attempting to keep them alive. If the plants you nurture are edible, use them in your recipes. Grow your own basil instead of purchasing it at the store; nibble on home-grown carrots as a healthy alternative to fatty snacks. And think how satisfied you’ll feel when you serve guests a salad comprised of vegetables that you grew yourself!