Saving and protecting the environment finally got its place in the spotlight. People are increasingly becoming more aware of the impact – both positive and negative – their actions have on the environment, which is why the majority has started to lean towards completely embracing the green mindset. And what better place to start embracing all things green than your backyard?
Now, some may argue that, while undoubtedly beautiful, lush backyards seem to be causing more harm than good – the wasteful irrigation, improper and excessive use of pesticides and herbicides, and the use of various fertilizers that contribute to the carbon footprint. While they might be right in some instances, do know that there are ways you can create a beautiful backyard that is eco-friendly, low-maintenance and, most importantly, green. Here’s how.
Always go with native plants
If you stop and think about it for a second, filling your backyard with only native plants does make the most sense. Unlike the exotic or tropical plants that require heavy maintenance, native plants are already accustomed to the climate conditions of the area you live in, which will make caring for them that much easier. Additionally, since they are living in the climate and soil they are used to, they won’t require any herbicides, pesticides or additional watering.
Organic mulch, such as wood chips, tree bark, fallen leaves and pine needles, regulates the temperature of the soil and retains moisture, which is very important for keeping your plants alive and well. That is why you should use it as much as you can. Since it is so good at trapping moisture, the use of mulch will cut your backyard’s watering needs by as much as 50%.
Rethink the landscape
A truly green backyard is not only pleasing to the eye, but it is also designed with utmost functionality in mind. That is why you should completely rethink your backyard’s landscape before you actually start planting. If you are not sure what a functional backyard design encompasses, you should seek expert advice. For example, landscape architects at Think Outside Gardens consider everything from purpose and size to colours and shapes used in backyard landscaping when optimizing any outdoor area.
Avoid covering your backyard with grass
Lawns and backyards covered with grass are always thirsty for more water. That’s why you should consider covering your backyard with organic ground covers instead. Plants, such as moss and clover, are super easy to maintain, but look beautiful and feel amazing under bare feet. What’s more, clover, in particular, makes for an excellent habitat for bees, so you should allow it to bloom in order to offer habitat to these amazing insects.
Finally, even if all of the plants in your backyard are low-maintenance and do not require a lot of artificial irrigation, sooner or later you will have to water them. Now, instead of wasting tap water, create a rainwater collection system and make use of everything the nature has to offer. Besides, rainwater is rich in various minerals and other particles that will only feed your soli, and thus your plants, further. These are very easy to make as well. Simply get a couple of rain barrels or chains and there you have it!
As you can see, putting together a truly green backyard is quite simple, once you know what you should aim for. Therefore, if you are considering updating your backyard, definitely think about putting together a green holistic environment, that will not only look beautiful but that will also work with nature instead of against it.
Lillian Connors can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of green living/home improvement projects and spread the word about them. She cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out on Twitter.