Most people think that simply having a garden makes them eco-friendly. But it takes a lot more than following gardening conventions to become truly environmentally conscious. When we look back in time we must admit that man has been mostly working against nature. When it comes to eco-gardening the key is to work with nature. Redesigning your backyard in an eco-friendly way is no hard work – you just need to change the perspective.
1. Green, Green Grass Of Home
Although mowing a lawn has achieved a status of an almost professional sport among the male population after a while it inevitably becomes a choir. As with every activity we’re reluctant to do, we’re trying to make it less frequent. That’s why most of the gardeners cut their grass almost to the ground, but they don’t realize that this way it becomes less tolerable to drought conditions through warmer months. The right thing to go is to cut just the third of the total blade length. You’ll have to mow it more frequently, but it will retain more water and become healthier. Roots will grow deeper causing the lawn to thicker, meaning there’ll be a fewer pest and less disease, decreasing the need for chemical intervention.
Another way to go is to use ground cover plants instead of grass. They require almost no mowing, don’t need additional watering, herbicides or pesticides. Moss and clover are the best among ground covers because they stay green throughout summer and drought, they have a sweet smell and their soft and cushiony texture provides a wonderful feel beneath bare feet.
2. Follow The Pattern
Everyone who has ever traveled across the borders of their country knows that nature is full of various patterns – different things grow in different places. That’s why the best way to go is to choose the native plants. Accustomed to the growing conditions of your area, they will require less water and have a natural resistance to disease and pest problems. Basically, all you need to do is to find the species that are suitable for your yard.
Following this pattern, you will also attract native wildlife in search of food and shelter. Butterflies, hummingbirds, and honeybees are great pollinators that will take care for an amazing 75% of your crops and flowering plants. If you want to keep them around you need to make sure your native plants have a variety of shapes and colors and that they flower at different times in order to provide pollen and nectar sources throughout the season.
3. Let It Lie
Nature is self-sustaining if we let it be. The arrival of the fall can bring the temptation to rake and bag all those fallen leaves, but that’s not just a completely unnecessary choir – it’s also a waste of perfect nutrition the soil will get after the decomposition. Instead, just cut them to tiny bits with a mulching mower and let them lie. And not just leaves – bark, pine needles, and wood chips all have their benefits. Besides providing the nutrition they will retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.
Leaving the things on the ground lie is just a part of the job – your kitchen leftovers should also find the way back to the soil. It is not just about reducing the amount of produced garbage, but composting also offers needed nutrition and eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers. And all you need for it is some soil and warm, sunny area. Just keep in mind that some kitchen scraps are garbage, so use only compostable items.
4. Quenching The Thirst
Many people think that going through the garden with a hose in hand is all that’s needed to quench the thirst of your plants. But knowing when and where to water is crucial. The best time to do it is between six and ten in the morning, but if you need your beauty sleep late afternoon is the other alternative. It’s important for a foliage to have time to dry before nighttime when damp temperatures can bring fungal diseases. Don’t just pour from the top – always do it near the base of the plants. Soaker hoses are your best ally because they slowly deliver water right to the roots.
You’ll also want to harvest the rainwater. It is not just about reducing the household water usage, but tap water usually contains chlorine which has a negative effect on your soil. The amount of chlorine can be decreased by leaving the tap water in a watering can overnight to off-gas, but a simple installation of rain barrels is far more efficient.
5. A Piece Of Paradise
Now that you’ve made your backyard a small paradise on earth it’s normal that you’ll want your own place in it. But that doesn’t mean you need to drive out nature in order to get it. The earth-friendly patio can be made from recycled aluminum or plastic, but wood is still the best way to go. Just make sure the wood you choose is sustainable – teak and acacia are your best choices. The most important thing is to keep away from the pressure-treated wood because the chemicals it’s injected with act as fungicides and fungi are an important part of your soil food. In order to shield yourself from the blazing sun of summer days just choose a cheap an efficient awning Sydney professionals have to offer and let that same sun power the solar lighting that will make your garden magical during the night. No air-condition, no cables, and electricity – just a nice shade inside the paradise.
As you could see, making your backyard eco-friendly requires just a change of perspective. Nature doesn’t need to be tamed and can take care of itself if it has the right conditions. If you want to harvest the fruits you need to act accordingly to your position – which is merely a guest one.
Audrey Taylor, the author of this post, was born in San Francisco, and moved to Adelaide at the age of five. Marketer researcher and social media manager on hold, full – time mommy of a cheerful two-year-old. Graduated from Queensford college, worked in a couple of marketing agencies across Australia, eager to learn more about business and share her experiences. Traveled across the Europe. Her hobbies include: home decor, fashion, travel, music, old movies.