10 environmentally friendly tips to improve your lawn

10 environmentally friendly tips to improve your lawn

The upkeep of a beautiful lawn and landscape can be expensive, and some current day practices are proving to be costly to our environment as well as our pocketbook. Below are ten environmentally and financially conscious ways to approach lawn care and landscaping:

1. Plant deciduous trees on the south side of your house. 

Oaks, river birch, maples and dogwoods are all examples of deciduous trees. Deciduous trees shed their leaves in the colder months, allowing sunlight to enter into your home. 

During warmer months, deciduous trees luscious leaves will help shade your home. American Forests Magazine claims, “A single urban tree can provide up to $273 a year in air conditioning, pollution fighting, erosion and storm water control, and wildlife shelter benefits.”

2. Water early in the morning. 

Watering in morning will help conserve water by reducing the amount of evaporation. Also, watering at this time helps prevent disease by reducing the amount of surface water on the leaves.

3. Only water when necessary.

Set your irrigation system on long intervals less frequently rather than short intervals more frequently. Don’t forget to adjust your irrigation system accordingly throughout the year. A general rule is to water an inch per week during the active growing season.

4. Group plants with similar moisture needs together. 

There is no need to waste water on plants that don’t need it as much as others!

5. Only use pesticides and fertilizer if needed and follow label directions. 

Homeowners frequently over apply these products with hopes it will yield additional results by using more product. This is not typically the case and overuse of these chemicals can cause damage to your yard and create additional run-off contamination. Only use what your lawn requires and store the rest safely for future use.

6. Clean off your sidewalks when you have finished fertilizing. 

Getting spilled fertilizer pellets back onto the turf drastically reduces the runoff of chemicals.

7. Overseed thin/weak areas of your lawns in the fall months. 

A thick, healthy lawn is a great buffer, absorbing contaminants before they enter the watershed.

8. Keep mower blades sharp, mulch clippings and mow high. 

Grass clippings are a natural source of slow release fertilizer for your grass. This can improve your turf’s appearance by 30 percent, drastically reduce waste entering landfills, and cut pesticide use by up to 50 percent.

9. Use mulch.

Mulch is made up of recycled, organic material such as aged wood chips that may otherwise end up in our landfills. Mulch can prevent weeds, stabilize soil temperature and reduce water loss from the soil through evaporation.

10. Provide local wildlife with water. 

If you install a pond or water feature in your landscape, it can provide a home for fish, frogs and turtles. Your pond can also collect rainfall water, which you can use to water plants. 

Is a water feature more than you wish to handle? Think about placing a decorative, shallow pan or bucket in your yard that will provide local wildlife such as birds and butterflies with water. 

Keep in mind that standing water comes with a little maintenance. Be mindful to empty and refill standing water at least once a week or you may risk creating a home for mosquitos or other unwanted beings.

About this Experts Contributor: Jon Zalewski is the business development manager at Professional Grounds, Inc., providing landscaping services in Alexandria, Va. Since 1974, Professional Grounds has specialized in planting, patios, walkways, retaining walls, hardscapes, water features and more. You can follow this contributor on Twitter @ProGrounds and on Google+.

As of April 17, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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