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Sustainable Yard Care Tips

Practical Sustainable Yard Care Tips for Your Home

When developing the landscape for a new home or making changes to an existing outdoor space, it can be easy to just focus on what types of features you’ll add while forgetting about how you’ll care for them. Sustainable yard maintenance has become an important consideration for landscapers and homeowners who want to reduce the negative environmental impact that their lawns and other outdoor areas have. Here are some simple ways that you can incorporate sustainable yard care practices into your planning process that will result in long-term benefits for the environment and for everyone that uses the space.

Sustainable Yard Care Ideas

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Consider Your Grass Type

Having a lush, green lawn may be your main goal, but it’s important to consider how much water you’ll need and how much gas or power it will take to maintain it. It’s best to start small with native grasses that are known to grow naturally in your climate.

Grasses are typically split into two different turf types – warm season grasses and cool season grasses. If you live in an area that sees harsh or prolonged winters, you will want to choose a cool season grass like fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, annual ryegrass or perennial ryegrass. These grass varieties should naturally do well in your area with minimal maintenance required. In the winter, grasses will go dormant and reappear in the spring as the snow has melted. The snow is actually a great natural irrigation system for your grass. Watering should only be necessary if your area is experiencing intense drought conditions or you have recently reseeded the lawn.

Warm season grasses require a bit more maintenance, but they are also grown to withstand the conditions they are in. Ensuring that you have planted the correct grass type should help you limit the amount of maintenance and energy resources required to help your lawn thrive.

Filling in bare areas with ground-cover plants, such as clover and thyme, can be a huge time and energy saver. And don’t forget about high-end artificial turf, which has seen tremendous advances in recent years. Today’s grass alternatives are designed to look just as good as the real thing but without the need for water, fertilizer or mowing.

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Choose Low-Maintenance Plants

Plants and flowers are a great way to add color and curb appeal, but choosing the wrong kind of plants can cost you a lot of money, not to mention require a lot of maintenance and water. Eco-friendly options are also often less of a headache to manage. Consider putting in border plants like hostas and ferns that require little maintenance and do well in a variety of climates.

Perennial flowers offer a pop of color without the same amount of required care that some annual varieties need. Dianthus, hydrangeas, and geraniums all add plenty of seasonal color, but come back year after year and stand the test of time.

Succulents are another plant variety that have regained popularity in the past decade because they will grow just about anywhere and require very little water. Consider transforming part of your outdoor space into a sustainable succulent garden.

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Try Edible Plants

To really get the most out of your yard, try planting some hardy fruit trees and vegetable plants that will not only look great but will provide your family with tasty food as well. There are many different types of edible plants, shrubs and fruit trees that require very little maintenance when compared with a traditional lawn. Edible flowers, lettuce, berries and herbs are all hearty options that can serve as effective ground cover choices as well.

Not sure what to choose? Contact your local home and garden store or work with a professional landscaper to ensure you make the right choices for your area and landscaping needs.

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Ditch the Chemicals

Replacing chemical fertilizers, weed treatments and lawn care products with natural or organic substitutes can make a big difference in the sustainability of your yard. Most commercially available pesticides, lawn care treatments, and fungicides kill off important microbes that are critical to plant growth and development. Many of the ingredients they contain may also harm your local water supply and cause health problems due to secondary exposure.

Products like compost and fish fertilizer, for example, are just as easy to come by and can fertilize your lawn without the added harmful ingredients. The next time your lawn needs a treatment or weed control, explore all of the different options that are readily available to you.

Choosing safer products doesn’t just make your yard safer for you and your pets, but using non-toxic ingredients will also encourage strong growth in plants and grasses. To find healthier alternatives, look for products that are labeled as natural organic. Depending on where you live, you may also find local landscaping companies that only use natural options as part of their services.

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Enjoy Your Outdoor Space

A sustainable outdoor space goes a long way to adding to the overall enjoyment of your home. By spending a little time planning the types of plants and grasses that you grow, limiting your water usage and applying safer products, you are not only reducing your environmental impact, you are creating a healthy, happy place to hang out.

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