Green landscaping, Eco-friendly plants | Angies List Tips

Green landscaping, Eco-friendly plants | Angies List Tips

Many consumers are concerned that converting a conventional backyard into a more environmentally friendly space will cost more money. This may be true up front, but you’ll make your money back within a few years.

Planting trees and shrubs on the east and west sides of your home can reduce air conditioning costs as much as 25 percent.

  • Grow your own compost: An organic compost pile is one of the easiest and most environmentally friendly additions that you can make to your garden. Good materials for composting can be divided into two large groups: 1) materials with lots of carbon, usually dry or brown materials such as papers, straw and wood chips; and, 2) materials with lots of nitrogen, usually green or wet grass clippings and weeds as well as horse, cow or rabbit manure. Tip: To prevent attracting mice and other unwelcome visitors, do not let your mixture “simmer” next to your home.
  • Avoid harsh pesticides: Ask your lawn care company about the best natural pesticides. Natural pesticides can be used safely to rid your garden of certain pests. Remember, if the name or contents contain “cide,” the Latin root for “to kill,” it will and should be considered hazardous for all living things. Just because it says it is a natural product doesn’t necessarily mean its safe. Instead, consider spraying a solution of soapy water on plants (1 teaspoon per gallon of water.)
  • Harness the power of flowers: Visit your local nursery and ask for help selecting hardy, native plants. Those suited to your climate zone will require less watering and maintenance. They are also more resistant to pests and diseases, reducing the need for pesticides.
  • Conserve water: Use a rain barrel to collect water from your roof to your garden. A 55 gallon barrel costs about $20.
  • Water wisely: Use a rain gauge or straight-edged container, such as a tuna can or drinking glass, to determine how long you need to sprinkle. Put the can or glass under your sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill that glass an inch. That’s how long you need to sprinkle. Use drip irrigation or sweating hoses to water garden beds, trees, and shrubs. It puts water at the root zone where it’s needed.

• Make mulch work for you: Mulch stores water and plants pull from it in dry conditions, so it’s important to have adequate mulch. If it’s low (fewer than 2 inches) calculate the area you want to cover in square feet and then in depth. Multiply the two numbers, then divide that number by 324. This is the number of cubic yards you’ll need to buy.

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Thanks to the foxtrotters that we own, compost saved us quite a bit money when we re-landscaped after the hurricane.

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