There are many ways to be environmentally friendly in your yard. Here are five tips to get you started:
1) Start composting. Plants and flowers love compost, which delivers life-nourishing organic matter right where they need it most and reduces the amount of waste you generate. You can create an open compost pile in an out of the way spot in your garden, or you can use a container. Once you’re set up, add a mixture of kitchen waste and backyard scraps to it, turn it every so often, wait a few months, and you’ll be rewarded with rich black compost. Just make sure to keep these items out of your compost: meat, dairy, & high fat foods like peanut butter or salad dressing.
2) Be water conscious. Instead of adding to your water bill every month, collect the rain. A variety of rain collection systems are available and easy to attach to your gutters. When the weather dries out you can attach your hose to the barrel and release the water to your plants when they need it most! Don’t have that much time? Set out some large buckets on your patio during the next storm and let the sky fill them up. If you want to stick to hose watering use a water timer on hoses and sprinklers to ovoid over-or-under watering. You can also attach a soaker hose to delivery water directly to your plant’s root zone and reduce evaporation!
3) Plant drought-resistant plants. While on the subject of watering, the less water your plants need the better. There are many species of plants that do not require as much water as their more fussy cousins. The less water you use, the more that is available to replenish your local reservoir or aquifer. Some Oregon choices: lavender, sweet alyssum, yarrow, purple coneflower (Echinacea), sedum, and red hot poker (kniphofia) just to name a few.
4) Feed the local wildlife. Creating a local wildlife sanctuary is very eco friendly. You can easily build a hospitable garden for your birds by making available birdhouses, fountains, and food available for them. Likewise, you can plant flowers that readily attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Make your outdoor space a hot spot for these winged creatures by planting astilbe, a butterfly bush, calendula, delphinium, gladiolus, rudbeckia (black-eyed susan), zinnias, and dusty miller (also deer resistant).
5). Plant Smart: Plant a tall evergreen hedge on the north side of your home to cut heating bills up to 34% in windswept regions and 10% in sheltered areas. Plant a shade tree on the southwest side of your house. When it matures, it will reduce your home’s need for air conditioning.
Following these guidelines helps to ensure that your garden is maintained in the most earth friendly way possible. The key is to use a minimum of energy and water resources while recycling as much of your waste as you can.