How to Make Your Yard Eco-Friendly

How to Make Your Yard Eco-Friendly



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Who wants to inhale pesticides when you flip burgers in the backyard? Especially when creating an eco-friendly garden is fairly easy.

Step 1: Plant native vegetation
Plant whatever flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs are native to you area (your library or local gardening club can help). Because they have adapted to your area’s climate and soil, they will require less care—meaning fewer pesticides and fertilizers.

Tip
Save water by including drought-resistant perennials in your landscaping. Bonus: this can cut your water bill by 50%.

Step 2: Plant trees strategically
Plant trees strategically so that they provide shade for your home. They’ll cut down on the need for air-conditioning, plus saving energy and money.

Tip
Avoid planting trees on the south side of your home. During the winter months you’ll get more sunlight—and lower heating bills.

Step 3: Make fertilizer
Make your own compost by saving your fruit and vegetable peelings, egg shells, and coffee grounds; mixing them with equal parts dried leaves or grass clippings; storing in a closed, ventilated container; adding some soil; and turning on a regular basis.

Tip
If you must use commercial fertilizer, look for one that is phosphorus free.

Step 4: Use your own power
Pushing your lawnmower not only helps the environment (gas-powered mowers emit 93 times more air pollution per gallon than a new car!)—it also burns a whopping 480 calories an hour. Dump the leaf-blower and expend another 290 calories an hour raking leaves.

Tip
Leave the grass cuttings on the lawn to recycle nutrients.

Step 5: Give up charcoal
If you’re still barbecuing with charcoal, you’re not doing your lungs or Mother Earth any good. Natural gas is the least polluting way to fire up the grill.

Step 6: Enjoy
Throw a few shrimp on the barbie and enjoy your lush—and healthy—oasis!

Did You Know?
Yard work is better than bicycling, aerobics, dancing, and weight training for maintaining healthy bone mass.