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Creating an Eco-Friendly Yard

News flash: Your backyard may actually be negatively impacting the environment! From water-wasting sprinkler systems to gas-guzzling lawn tools, there are a whole host of ways your outdoor space is causing trouble for the earth.

But don’t panic yet. There’s no need for a total yard redo. You can create an earth-friendly yard by simply switching up your maintenance routine to include practices that help sustain natural resources.

Here are five tips to consider:

1. Don’t Indulge in Gas-Guzzlers: Gas powered lawn mowers, clippers and trimmers may make maintaining your yard a quick, painless process, but using these products accounts for a whopping five percent of urban air pollution.

Switch out your power tools for equipment that operates on good old-fashioned elbow grease, like hand-held gardening tools, clippers and a manual push reel mower. The job may take a little longer to complete, but you’ll be cutting down on nasty emissions and building up arm muscles in the process. If that’s too salt-of-the-earth for your taste, an electric mower or a battery-operated trimmer are almost as earth-friendly.

hand mower
Source: Home Depot

2. Do Compost: Throwing away grass and flower clippings only adds to the amount of waste building up in your local landfill. Instead of bagging and tossing the cuttings, create an outdoor compost bin and use the waste as fertilizer. Compost is a cheap, all-natural, earth-friendly way to keep your yard strong, healthy and nutrient rich.

compost bin
Source: Home Depot

3. Don’t Use Pesticides: Using chemicals to keep away critters is a common practice. However, pesticides build up in the soil and linger on in garden vegetables, making them not only harmful to the earth, but to humans as well.

Skip spraying your yard and use these tips to keep pests at bay:

  • Clear your garden of debris and weeds so insects don’t have a place to breed.
  • Mix different species of plants in the same area. You’re less likely to have an infestation if you don’t plant like crops together.
  • Blast bugs with all-natural remedies you can make in your kitchen. Common ingredients include milk, cooking oil, cayenne pepper and baking soda.

4. Do Irrigate: Installing an irrigation system is the key to conserving water. Most irrigation systems are on timers so over-watering and run-off isn’t an issue. If you’re handy, install an irrigation system on your own. However, if do-it-yourself isn’t your forte, there are plenty of landscaping companies that can design a system that works with your property.

irrigations controller
Source: Home Depot

5. Don’t Go Overboard With the Exotic: While having a few exotic plants in your yard can make it a standout design-wise, having too much growth that isn’t native to the region can ruin your yard’s natural biodiversity. Use native flowers, bushes and trees as the base of your landscaping and add only a few exotics for show.

Employing these practices in the course of your yard’s maintenance will not only lessen your negative impact on the earth, but ultimately give you a healthier, happier yard.

By Megan Mostyn-Brown

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