Oh, what can you do to create an eco-friendly garden? Truth be told, many things as it all starts much like a baby’s first walking steps – one step at a time with a desire to get somewhere. That said, here are my recommendations to begin the process and protect our greatest resource, Mother earth. You may select one or two or consider all, either way, these choices will hopefully open the doors to the endless possibilities of eco-friendly changes:
Don’t be a drip, add a drip irrigation system
By adding a drip line or soaker hoses you can get the most effective methods for dispersing water into your garden as it’s aimed at the plant’s roots rather than a generalized broad spread. If you currently use sprinkler heads consider modifying a portion of your system to accommodate a drip line. You’ll save money and water and as this is the good green thing to do!!
Create a rock garden
Rock gardens are perfect for creating an interesting look as well as areas that require minimal water and maintenance. Replace lawns with a verity of stones and rocks to create a natural looking garden that can be both interesting and creative throughout the seasons.
Garden with native plants
Choose self-reliant plants well suited to the area, which will boost survivability. You can achieve very conventional looks with native plants – Native plants are adapted to the climate and soil you plant them in, meaning less watering and less work.
Use newspapers for weed control
Over the years I’ve discovered that after reading the NY times newspaper (black & white) it can make the perfect grown cover before mulching. Recyclable and biodegradable.
Create a compost pile
An easy natural way to create a nutrient-rich soil amendment for your lawn and garden beds. Making compost is eco-friendly for several reasons. It:
- takes yard and kitchen waste and recycles it into healthy soil
- reduces or eliminates the need for additional chemicals
- conditions the soil to become less water dependent
- keeps waste out of landfills and reduces trips there by collection vehicles
Install a weather sensor for your irrigation system
There is nothing worse than to see an irrigation system on when it is raining. This simple drives me crazy! If you have an irrigation system you MUST purchase and install a rain gauge to override your system when it is raining. This will quickly pay for itself the moment you open your water bill. A MUST HAVE!!!
Turn back time and go retro by exchanging that noisy, smoke-belching power mower for a push mower. It’s a fun way to get some much-needed exercise. You’ll feel better, and be able to do it early in the morning without having anyone get announce with you.
Find gardening tools made of recycled materials
Who knew? Or how about buying used tools from tag sales and or estate sales. Something old becomes something new. I love the older tools for their design and craftsmanship – they don’t make tools like this anymore. Find them and give them a new life.
Shredding for your compose
Discovering composting ingredients is right in your own home or office. Turn those papers to good gardening use! Shredders are readily available today for home use but buying a high quality, home office version is best. A good quality shredder may take a bite out of your budget, but consider paying more rather than less. Purchase one that can take 10-15 sheets at a time, and can cut paper into confetti and handles a large volume. I shred everything for my compost pile the moment it arrives. You will find that all the different colors of paper soon become reduced to the same unrecognizable common denominator of compost. It’s fabulous, and a great way to recycle junk mail and old papers. If you don’t have a shredder in your home buy one, Mother Nature will sunshine on you.
- Collect rainwater: This option can be as cheap or as expensive as you like. You can collect rainwater using barrels or buckets. Excellent for filling watering cans or to feeding into your garden.
- Divert your gutters: Rather than allowing your rainwater just empty into your soak wells, divert your drainage pipes away from your home and into your garden beds. These drainage pipes are predrilled with holes that are perfect for allowing rainwater to disperse into the soil.
- Mulch your garden beds: One of the greatest forms of water loss is evaporation so if you mulch your garden beds with a decent blanket of natural mulch this should reduce the need for daily watering by keeping your garden beds moist in-between watering cycles.
- Plant a Tree: Trees alongside your house or incorporated into your garden and landscaping design offers added value and curb appeal to your home. Perfect for shade in summer saving you on cooling costs, and provides a place to live for many species of wildlife.
In the end, it’s up to us to continue to find new ways to benefit both Mother Nature and our need to create a warm and inviting home and garden with the least harm to our natural resources. Small steps lead to bigger steps that make a difference. Be part of the future by remembering the past, living for tomorrow and respecting today.
And there you have it.