Perfectly trimmed green-grass lawns reminiscent of elite golf courses and French castles have become the norm for many homeowners. While impeccable turf appeals to the eye, and toes for those of us that like to run around barefoot outside, they can be difficult to maintain and harsh on the environment. They require trimming, fertilization, irrigation that uses natural resources like water and gasoline, and can pollute others through runoff. The average American home has a quarter of an acre of property, with areas in Vermont and Montana nearly six times that average. With many American homeowners trying to maintain the vision of a pristine green lawn, billions of gallons water are used each year for this goal. However, an increasingly popular trend of eco-landscaping provides us with an alternative that is both environmentally-friendly and equally beautiful. Perhaps completely uprooting your lawn sounds daunting, but converting even a piece of it can benefit the environment and the rest of your property.
There are countless options for how you can landscape your property, depending on the typical climate of your location, your budget, and what you are looking to achieve aesthetically and physically. By reducing the size of your grass lawn to create space for a more ecologically suitable green space you can choose to attract pollinators, incorporate a vegetable garden, or plant native flora. Attracting pollinators like wasps can also work as a natural pesticide. Incorporating an organic vegetable garden can provide fresh produce, and also replenish nitrogen levels in soil. Choosing native plants, grasses, shrubs, and trees promotes biodiversity, healthy air and soil, conserves water, and minimizes the need for pesticides or fertilizers. This can also prove to be more economical, reducing the need for irrigation and fertilization.
When choosing perennials, shrubs, and trees, it’s also important to consider seasonal blooms. Strategically planting clusters of peonies for the spring, hydrangeas for the summer, and blueberries for the fall safeguards against having awkward gaps in your green space. Apart from creating a full landscape, staggering growth and decay periods of various plants provides a great source of brown material for composting. Choosing many different plants will also provide a more natural looking and functional landscape. Another approach, called xeriscaping, drastically decreases the need for water in landscaping. Popular in more arid locations, water-drought plants such as cactus and succulents are used to provide greenery. This foliage is often outlined by stones, patios, or walkways. This approach can also be applied to temperate climates, where you could incorporate benches, birdbaths, or paths throughout flowering plants and trees. Ultimately, eco-landscaping provides a creative, attractive, and sustainable alternative to the typical green lawn.
But for those of us that simply can’t give up all their lush lawn covered spaces in their landscapes, is an eco-friendly choice for eliminating weeds in the lawn covered areas that you keep.