Green Business Bureau Blog
How to Get a Beautiful Garden and Lawn Without Hurting the Earth
Everyone wants a beautiful lawn. Unfortunately, the things people do to get and maintain that beautiful lawn can hurt the environment. Thankfully, there are a variety of tips and green practices you can follow to get gorgeous grass and be friendly to the earth.
Use Eco-Friendly Tools
Most people know that traditional gas-powered lawn mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers cause pollution to the atmosphere and groundwater—but in the process of fueling these lawn care tools, Clear Air Lawn Care estimates that more than 17 million gallons of gas are spilled annually. That’s almost equal to the pollution caused by vehicle emissions.
Eco-minded landscapers and homeowners are using electric and solar-chargeable landscaping tools to minimize environmental damage. Electric lawn care products produce no harmful emissions or loud noises that can damage the landscaper’s hearing. Electric lawn mowers come in both corded and cordless models that are ideal for small areas, and leaf blowers come in electric varieties that are just as powerful as gas-fueled models. Husqvarna zero-turn lawn mowers are among the leaders in this category for eco-friendly homeowners, and for those with bigger budgets, there are solar-charged, battery-operated lawn care tools.
Fertilizers and Pest Control
Maintaining a healthy lawn and garden traditionally calls for fertilizers and pest control solutions that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment. Lawncare.org recommends homeowners fertilize during early spring and fall, but be careful not to over-fertilize; doing so can cause phosphorous pollution in the groundwater. Always follow the directions printed on packages. Cornell University’s Department of Horticulture’s research shows that most turf soil samples contain enough phosphorous for healthy plant growth, and applying more than needed contributes to the pollution of rivers and lakes.
In place of using harmful pesticides, consider controlling pests with garden insects. Gardeninsects.com provides a guide to the insects that naturally control pests and help plants grow by pollinating them. The insects can be ordered online and sent to the homeowner once the proper pest/solution pair has been identified.
Homeowners can use a variety of gardening techniques that minimize water usage and help lower the cost of landscaping year-round. Try using pavers and flowers to achieve a beautiful look while conserving water. Permeable pavers are made so that rain water passes through the stones rather than running off and they prevent the water from mixing with other chemicals before entering the ground. The stones are ideal for a driveway or backyard patio, where they can be used to outline the landscape or provide walkways.
You can also replace your grass with drought-tolerant flowers. This eliminates the need to mow and fertilize and cuts down on water usage. Use variegated flower types that bloom all year long.
Homesteading on the Rise
Homesteading enables homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint even further by creating gardens to grow their own food ingredients and herbs. Having a home gardens means fewer trips to the grocery store and less vehicle emissions.
For people with too-small space or little daily time to invest, windowsill planters with ample sunlight are big enough to hold herb gardens. Flowers and food plants can be mixed together in hanging pots to make a beautiful and useful display, while saving space and water. Community gardens are becoming more popular for those who can’t keep individual gardens, as are local food potlucks.
Final Thought: What to Wear
Of course, when caring for your lawn and garden, it is best to wear clothes suitable for outdoor activities. Even in this, homeowners and landscapers can lower their carbon footprint. Natural fabrics are breathable and capable of wicking sweat away from the body. Eco-friendly fashion trends that use plant materials to manufacture clothing without synthetic mixtures are now available. These fabrics are made from various plants including hemp, tweed, cotton and bamboo. This fashion trend not only benefits the environment, but helps less-fortunate families around the world by practicing fair trade.