For homeowners, making more eco-friendly choices is very important for two reasons. First, efforts to be more efficient can lead to a bundle of savings when it comes time to pay your utility bills. Simple measures like being more cognizant of where you set your thermostat or minimizing electricity use can go a long way on that front. Second, initiatives to reduce your home’s carbon footprint may not only provide fun family projects for you and your children, but can also result in restoration or up-keep that makes your home a more attractive place.
Efforts to go green aren’t just confined to inside your home, either. Your yard is an important part of your house’s curb appeal and during the spring and summer, your family may be spending as much time outdoors as they do inside. There are many ways homeowners can make changes that make the backyard a nicer place and improve its overall impact on the environment. As the weather improves, consider these landscaping projects that will make your home a little more environmentally friendly.
Start a garden
There are tremendous benefits associated with growing your own fruits, veggies and herbs in your backyard. According to Bankrate, a home garden is very inexpensive to start and can be an easy way to lower your grocery bill. From there, your family will benefit from fresh produce, while you minimize the amount of pollution related to transporting the food, as well as driving to and from the grocery store.
“A home garden is very inexpensive to start.”
Starting a garden can also be a great family project and a means of teaching your children about everything from the importance of hard work to how plants grow. They may revel in a new-found sense of responsibility and could even have a new opinion when it comes to eating their veggies at the dinner table.
Plant a tree
Maintaining a garden can be a bit of a time commitment, so for anyone who is concerned with being unable to keep up, opting to plant a tree or two is another way to get your hands dirty. Trees are beneficial to your yard because they drink up extra rainwater and can shade your home from the sun. In a larger context, trees take in the CO2, a major contributor to causes global climate change, while simultaneously emitting useful oxygen as a by-product.
Invest in a rain barrel
In some areas of the country, storm water run-off can be a major problem, and put a pressure on the area’s sewers and other infrastructure. Because roofs and roads do not absorb water during rain events, all of this water is diverted into a town or city’s pipes, and the cumulative effect can be a problem. Even in your own yard, extra water can ruin your lawn or seep into the basement. However, by installing a rain barrel beneath your gutter, much of this excess water can be captured.
This is also a way to lower your home’s water bill, especially for anyone who does landscaping or is interested in starting a garden. Rain can be stored for dryer days, and a spout or hose can make diverting the water straightforward.
Build a wildlife habitat
The National Wildlife Federation has criteria for qualifying your backyard as a certified wildlife habitat. Let a corner of your yard grow a little more wild, and soon you may notice more birds, rabbits and other critters calling your lawn home. This is especially important for migratory species that need refugee on the way to and from breeding grounds.
Decrease your lawn space
The blog She Knows reported that shrinking the overall amount of grass you have in your front or backyard is a way to reduce the amount of time and energy you spend on your lawn. Grass can be very tricky to keep verdant, and by replacing a strip around the edges with low-maintenance native plants, you can spend less of your weekend watering and tending to your lawn.
Begin to compost
Going green isn’t just about reducing the amount of water or energy you use, and unfortunately many home fertilizers and other products contain dangerous chemicals, Tree Hugger stated. By opting to compost your family’s food scraps, you can not only limit the total food waste that ends up at the dump, but you can stop buying potentially hazardous lawn care sprays.
Composting apple cores, egg shells and other bits of food is a way to create natural fertilizer for your yard. For anyone who wants to lower your family’s food waste but has no use for the compost itself, there are likely a number of community or environmental groups in the area that will take this from you.