Eco-Friendly Backyard Landscaping
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There are a lot of things you can do right now to get a “greener” backyard year-round. Everything from water use to the plants you choose makes a difference. Our landscape design team has spent years working with homeowners to achieve the best results possible for each outdoor space. With a few key elements, you can create a backyard that is beautiful, wildlife-friendly, and cost-effective. Here are just a few of the most impactful ways to make over your yard for a better future:
There’s a reason it’s called “gardener’s gold!” Composting uses nutrients from food you eat every day to feed your garden. This reduces dependency on chemical fertilizers and introduces some much-needed nutrients to the soil. Composting is also said to improve water drainage, which is ideal for the rainy seasons. If you find worms in your compost bin, you’re doing it right! In fact, some people even choose to buy worms specifically to help their compost bin along. Layers of moist, shredded newspaper act as a great home for these worms.
- Use Native Plants
Choose plants that are native to your area. Native plants typically require less water and have fewer overall problems with pests and disease because they are already acclimated to the environment. Another benefit is that native plants are great for the local wildlife. They rely on these plants for food and shelter. Visit the Tennessee Native Plant Society for ideas or download this guide for more ideas to preserve Middle Tennessee’s native plant and animal life.
- Companion Planting
Companion planting is a method of gardening that places two types of plants next to each other because of their mutually beneficial relationship. For example, marigolds are said to deter insects, so they are often planted in flower beds where other, more delicate plants are at risk. Tall plants can offer shorter plants shade in the hot summer months. Other common pairings include:
- Chives and tomatoes
- Roses and garlic
- Carrots and spring onions
- Cucumbers, radish and dill
Terraces help manage steep slopes and prevent storm water runoff that leads to erosion. In addition to being a great water management technique, flat terrace “steps” are also the perfect places to plant flower beds, as rain will run downhill and water your plants naturally.
- Reduce Fuel Emissions
Switch from a gasoline-powered mower to a clean electrical engine or push-mower. Other options include mowing less frequently or installing artificial grass. Be choosy about synthetic grass installations for your backyard. Pick a brand that is made from recycled materials and renewable resources. Our artificial grass is made with soybean oil, which makes it stand out from the competition. It’s also low-maintenance, which makes it easy to maintain a lush, green lawn without sacrificing your weekends to yardwork.
- Patio Makeover
Your patio says a lot about who you are – namely, the décor style you love and the earth-conscious purchase decisions you make. For an eco-friendly patio that makes an impression, we recommend choosing woods that grow in abundance like acacia or teak. Look for certified sustainable benches and tables to ensure your purchase has the smallest impact possible on the environment. If you prefer a different look, recycled aluminum or plastic are also great choices.
- Solar Lighting
Solar lighting is an easy choice for your backyard. There are no wires or extension cords to deal with, and solar options help manage home energy use during the summer. This is a great way to make your spotlights, deck lights and path lights both attractive and eco-friendly.
- Ditch Outdoor LEDs
LED lighting has impacted animal species across the planet. Glare and light pollution contribute to disrupted sleep patterns and confused nocturnal animals. The International Dark Sky Association has raised concerns about external LED lighting. IDA director Chris Monrad has said that LEDs could be “a disaster for dark skies and the environment.” So, what can homeowners do to combat the light pollution? Install low-pressure sodium (LPS) lights, which are energy-efficient and emit a very narrow spectrum of light. Limit the amount of blue light wherever possible. The color temperature of your lighting should be more than 3,000 Kelvins.
- Welcome Pollinators
Plant flower gardens to encourage honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds to enjoy your yard. These pollinators naturally spread seeds, which could save you some time planting next year. View the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s resources for more information on planting a pollinator garden or providing animals with safe nesting sites.
- Natural Pest Control
Forego harmful pest repellants and toxic chemicals, many of which are attributed for the decimation of honeybee populations nationwide. Instead, plant bright flowers like candytuft or sunflowers. These attract ladybugs, which eat aphids. Set up birdfeeders close to flower beds so the birds can take care of any slugs, snails or caterpillars that might find your plants tasty. Artificial grass is another option to naturally repel bugs and insects. This makes it easy to maintain a lush, green mosquito-free zone all summer long.
Make a plan to implement your favorite items from our list this season! These landscaping upgrades can drastically improve your backyard’s environmental footprint. Contact us for more landscaping tips.