They say the grass is greener on the other side, but we’re not sure which side they are starting from. It doesn’t matter where you live, there are ways you can “go green” in the yard, and many of them have nothing to do with the color of your grass. Keep reading for five water-saving, eco-friendly, and easy lawn and garden changes you can make this summer.
Get Rid of the Grass
Grass needs water -- and lots of it. It’s everywhere, and when it gets too dry, it makes your landscape look like a barren plain. You can buck the tradition of having regular grass by swapping your fescue for fragrant ground coverings such as creeping thyme or Roman chamomile. Moss is another option for shaded areas. If you’re handy with a shovel, you can also level out a section of your lawn to create a hardscape design with pavers, rocks, statues, and potted plants. Reader’s Digest also suggests laying down some mulch and creating a play area for the kids.
Go Local with your Plantings
No matter where you live, there are plants that thrive in your environment and soil conditions. When you pick native plants, they likely won’t require much in the way of care or watering. When searching for new foliage, skip the big-box retailers, which tend to carry species from all over. Contact your local lawn and garden center, or discuss your options with an experienced landscaper. As an added bonus, indigenous flowers, trees, and shrubs typically don’t compete for resources. Local plants are the most environmentally friendly option for your lawn and garden.
Don’t Shower the Flowers
While watering may still be required for certain types of ornamental plants or a vegetable garden, watering correctly is the key to conserving this precious natural resource. GardenFundamentals.com explains that in order to provide your plants with the right amount of water, you must understand soil, humidity, and evaporation. Watering your plants in the heat of the day is less effective than at night. The best way to get the most out of your garden without raising your water bill is to utilize a soaking hose and only water in the early morning or evening.
Utilize What Mother Nature Provides
If you’d prefer not to waste the water that rains down from the sky, there are a few ways to make the most of this free H2O. A rain garden, which is comprised of native, flood-resistant flowers, ornamental grasses, and groundcovers, may be planted in recessed areas of your yard, such as the stormwater runoff path. You can also build a rainwater collection system utilizing your gutters and downspouts.
Mulch Where You Can
In addition to using mulch as a walkable surface, it is also valuable in flower beds and gardens. A layer of mulch should be preceded by high-quality landscape fabric, which will allow water to penetrate the earth but block the emergence of nuisance weeds. The type of mulch you choose is up to you. Wood shavings and pea gravel are two of the most common, but pine stray and lava rock are popular as well. Organic mulches will break down over time and enrich the soil.
Before you begin any landscaping project, make sure you have all the tools and materials you need to get the job done safely and effectively. The DIYGuys smartly recommend a good pair of garden gloves – standard-length gloves are fine for general gardening, but consider a gauntlet style if roses are a part of your landscape. DenGarden’s list of summer garden tools explains what tools you’ll need and how to use them.
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