Sustainable Landscaping Maintenance Tips for Homeowners
Traditional landscaping maintenance services may be more wasteful and harmful than you think. From water for the lawn to fertilizer for the plants, a yard can consume a large number of natural resources – and it can even pollute the environment.
When you plan strategically and practice sustainable landscaping maintenance, however, you work with nature to achieve a garden that flourishes effortlessly.
While the hibiscus is beautiful, it takes a lot of effort to maintain if you don’t live in a tropical environment. When selecting flora for your garden, use native plants wherever possible. These plants naturally thrive in your region, and adding them to your landscaping can help reverse the trend of species loss.
In addition to being attractive, native plants are simple to maintain, use less water, hold soil in place well and protect the quality of your groundwater. Experts who provide landscape maintenance services can tell you which plants are native to your area.
Traditional lawns need a lot of water to thrive. Plus, gas mowers release 10 times more hydrocarbons
than cars per hour of operation.
You can make your current lawn more eco-friendly by:
- Reducing its size.
- Using a push-mower.
- Cutting the lawn higher in the summer to reduce evaporation.
- Letting grass clipping decompose in the lawn.
- Watering in the early morning or evening.
- Using organic fertilizers.
Consider using a lawn alternative that requires less maintenance and water, like moss or clover. When you use moss as a grass alternative, it requires minimal watering and never needs mowing. It also grows quickly, repels weeds and prevents erosion.
Clover creates its own natural nitrogen fertilizer when it absorbs the air, and it shares the fertilizer with other plants when spread throughout a lawn. Its deep roots make it drought-tolerant, and it thrives in poor soil.
When done correctly, a green roof can make your home more energy efficient. The vegetation on the roof absorbs the hot summer sun and acts as an insulator in the winter. When it rains, a green roof slows stormwater runoff and filters pollutants from the water.
While a green roof can be expensive to install, it can ultimately save you thousands of dollars in energy costs and improve the life span of your roof.
Save money and reduce the demand for water by harvesting rainwater in a barrel, tank or cistern. The saved water costs you nothing to use, and you can rely upon it during the summer for your lawn or vegetable garden.
Rain gardens, on the other hand, filter and reduce storm-water runoff. A rain garden contains local plants that thrive in moisture. Because of its arrangement, a rain garden reduces flooding and protects the local watersheds. Plus, its aesthetic value can increase the value of your property.
When you incorporate raised vegetable beds into your landscape, you reduce the size of your lawn and encourage better soil drainage. As you build the beds, use a naturally rot-resistant wood, like cedar or juniper. Avoid pressure treated lumber because it can leach toxins into the soil.
Consider adding flowers to your vegetable beds, or vice versa. Flowers make good vegetable partners because they attract beneficial insects that pollinate. For example, pair Echinacea with herbs or clematis with beans. As you plan your garden, choose flowers and vegetables with the same growing requirements.
Garden pavers are beautiful. When planning an installation, consider permeable pavers, which pose several environmental benefits over other types of hardscaping. In addition to creating a flat surface for outdoor living, permeable pavers help reduce the ambient temperature and filter rainwater (rather than simply let it run off) to minimize soil erosion.
Sustainable landscaping maintenance isn’t difficult. With the right planning and knowledge, your garden can be equal parts stunning and eco-friendly.
About the Author:
Contributing author Steve Stewart is the President of Landscape East & West, Portland, Oregon’s landscaping and design professionals. Landscape East & West is an award-winning full-service landscaping company specializing in sustainable landscape maintenance services, patio design, outdoor kitchen design and more.