9 Everyday Ways to be Eco-Friendly
Use these lawn care, gardening and landscaping tips to make your home and neighborhood a better, healthier place.
Minimize Food Waste by Composting
Adopt the practice of at-home composting and reduce the amount of food waste you dispose of. You’ll create a nutrient-rich soil that can be used to supplement your garden and give back to the earth in no time!
Collect Water in a Rain Barrel
By simply attaching a rain barrel to your home’s downspout, you can collect roof runoff that can be reused in the garden or around the yard. Rain barrels require only a few parts and are easy to assemble yourself. In some towns, there are even rain barrel programs that will supply the barrel and all of the necessary components at little or no cost.
Use Pine Needles of Wood Chips as Mulch
While color-rich bagged mulch is popular and very attractive, there’s a lot to be said for using materials from your own local environment to squelch weeds. Pine needle mulch, natural wood chips, and autumn leaves are all great year-round options to use. With a little research you might even find free wood chips available from your local municipality if cleaning up fallen trees throughout the community is part of their duties.
Choose Natural Soil Additives
Go chemical-free when it comes to plant food and soil additives for your garden. This will ensure your plants contain all the nutrients and microorganisms needed to keep the soil healthy. While synthetic fertilizers may produce plants that look amazing, they often lack essential nutrients. In addition, some synthetic fertilizers pollute rainwater runoff and can be harmful to pets and children, as well as contribute to polluting larger bodies of water. There is a lot to learn about fertilizer, but to keep it simple, when you must seek out store-bought nutrients, always look over the ingredients carefully and choose one that is organic.
Use Battery-Powered Tools
Quiet, lightweight and emission-free, battery-operated lawn tools are increasing in quality, availability, and are now a viable alternative to traditional gas/oil-fueled machines. In fact, just about all yard maintenance tools now have a battery-operated version — lawnmowers, rototillers, string trimmers and even chainsaws. In most cases, the battery-operated versions are so powerful that you’ll be able to use them all afternoon and beyond on a single battery charge.
Pick Native Trees & Flowers
Before you start choosing plants for your home’s landscape, do some research and find out what native plants thrive in your particular area. Native plants will be able to adapt to climate and seasons, naturally support local wildlife, and are more likely to do well in your particular soil conditions. Plants that are not native may or may not flourish, but if they do flourish may actually do more harm than good, like suffocating native species, damaging soil, and becoming terminally invasive.
Share Seeds & Transplants
Sharing seeds with neighbors or through local co-ops is a great way to build community and share the love of gardening with others. Harvesting seeds from native plants is always a good practice, as is saving seeds from fruit and veggies when your edible garden is in full swing during the summer. In addition, some perennials actually benefit from being divided every 3 to 5 years to prevent overcrowding. The individual sections removed can typically be transplanted and continue thriving at a new home.
Deal With Insects Naturally
Take preventative action and stop infestations around your property before they start. For instance, if your kitchen is prone to attracting ants or your backyard is a mole magnet, research and find out what scents or soil additives might encourage them to change their course. By opting for natural ingredients instead of reaching for synthetic bug and insect repellants, you can safeguard where you eat, sleep and play from harsh chemicals.
Go for Natural Weed Killers
Along similar lines, avoid using weed-killing chemicals in your garden by handling unsightly weeds as they sprout from the soil. Natural solutions like boiling water, acetic acid, and good old fashioned weeding by hand are all effective at keeping unwanted weeds from taking over your landscape.