Your lawn and garden design may be (literally) green, but if your landscape design calls for heavy irrigation or abundant use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, then it’s not (figuratively) green at all. By going (figuratively) green with your landscaping choices, you can cut irrigation down to a minimum, reduce groundwater contamination from over-fertilization and pesticides and most importantly help save the planet.
Before you add any fertilizers to your yard and garden, you should buy a basic soil test kit. A soil test kit can be purchased from any retail garden supply store. This will point you in the right direction when it comes to fertilizing your plants and help you prevent over-fertilization.
Some times chemical fertilizers are necessary in your soil. Always fertilize according to directions and never, ever over fertilize. Over fertilizing plants can lead to water over-fertilization which leads to algae blooms, red tide and oxygen-free dead zones. The greenest fertilizer is a natural fertilizer like compost, cow manure or yard clippings. Use these to prevent fertilizer water runoff pollution.
Using natural fertilizers is just one step towards turning your landscape into an ecofriendly one. Using natural resources like rainwater to irrigate plants not only helps to nourish the landscape, they also help prevent storm water runoff. A green landscaping design only truly works when water is conserved and used properly.
But besides the gutters that help to shed water away from your home, ditches and slopes shed water away from your home as well. Planting thick rooted plants in heavy water runoff zones can help stop soil erosion that can destroy soil and erode your property. Storm water runoff that is collected in cisterns and redistributed throughout the yard are great methods of green landscaping.
If you’re constantly adding fertilizer and water to your lawn and you’re still getting no results, you may need to aerate your lawns soil. The soil under your grass is under constant compression from foot traffic and vehicles. This can prevent roots from growing outward, depleting the supply of oxygen in the soil. When this happens, the best cure is to oxygenate the soil using an aeration tool.
Some landscaping companies offer soil aerating services and have the heavy equipment needed to make quick work of soil aeration. DIY soil aerators can be bought at any lawn and garden supply store. They are a basic metal rake with several small metal plugs. When pressed into the grass, it removes just enough soil to maximum soil aeration. Fill the holes with new topsoil and grass seed, raking over the holes to promote future root growth.
Most DIY landscapers buy plants from landscaping stores and chain warehouses and impulse shop when purchasing plants. This can be the worst way to find desirable and long lasting ecofriendly landscaping. Don’t buy what looks good, but what lasts the longest and is the most ecofriendly.
But before you swipe a credit card shopping for plants, draw a sketch or a blueprint first. This is where a professional landscape designer comes in handy. They know which plants best suit your area and soil conditions, allowing you to plant native vegetation that not only looks great, but can last for years to come with little to no maintenance.