Some folks may find they have an abundance of free time these days. For the next outside project, try one of these 10 ways to make your yard more sustainable. Let us know which tip worked best in your yard in the comments or tag us on Facebook or Instagram!
Design a landscape
You’re already in the right place if you want to know how to change your landscape to something more sustainable. We’ve previously discussed why you should hire a landscape architect, but even if you are dealing with a tiny yard, you can still benefit from planning your landscape design. Crazy overgrowth, invasive species, and knee-high grass can all be reclaimed to make your yard more sustainable.
Do you really need a reminder? Greenscape Geeks is a large proponent of compost and the myriad benefits it can have for your raised beds or spring blooms. Did you know that having an open compost container provides shelter and food for many beneficial insects and worms? Although they are not very complex critters, worms are amazing at what they do with recycling the dirt (check out Greenscape Geek’s stay-at-home-schooling lesson on worms here).
Use a rain barrel
When you prevent stormwater runoff, you make life downstream a lot healthier, literally! Using a dedicated container for any excess gutter or downspout runoff helps reduce the amount of leaf litter and general waste from your street or yard that washes down municipal storm drains. This makes your yard more sustainable by contributing to the bigger environmental picture of your surrounding water table.
Check irrigation for efficiency and leaks
Having an established garden or food plot is a good start for a sustainable yard. But making sure your waterings are efficient is better. New drip irrigation installations don’t need to be checked as frequently as older models or worn pipes, but it is still good practice to make sure there are no leaks. Check irrigation bi-monthly or twice annually to make sure a resource as precious as clean water isn’t going to waste on weeds instead of your native plants.
Create wildlife habitat (like a garden pond)
Believe it or not, the best neighbors you’ll ever have in your sustainable yard come with antennae or several legs. They don’t pester you to use your grill or borrow a cup of sugar, but they do increase the overall ecological health of an area. By sectioning off a portion of the yard to give back to nature, you’ve increased the health and longevity of the species present that are always working to spread plant seeds, eat intrusive pests, or add to the natural beauty of an area. One of the best ways to bring life to an area is to add water. A garden pond brings in another dynamic element of aquatic wildlife. Dragonflies dart around to eat mosquitoes and frogs love to snack on those darn slugs that tear up your ground vegetables.
If you have a pond, remove excess nutrients
Natural garden ponds are amazing enough to take care of themselves for the most part. However, occasional maintenance is still required to keep a pond and the residents therein healthy and
happy. All-natural ponds will go through a process of eutrophication when left unattended. This buildup of excess nutrients can cause water to become stagnant and devoid of life. Avoid this by cleaning a garden pond in spring and fall before winterizing the body of water. Trimming plants below the water line and collecting any fallen leaves will prevent too much loose detritus in the water.
Choose natural pesticides
Chemical pesticides have had their time. Now, consumers are smarter, savvier, and aim for sustainability in their yard care. Natural pesticides and insecticides will decompose naturally over time. Instead of leaching into and damaging the soil, they will enhance it! They will also be less harmful on bare skin, so there won’t be any signage for “keeping off the grass.”
Make your yard pollinator-friendly
Every social media campaign calling to “save the bees” has merit! Pollinators help make delicious treats like honey and fruit, but they are also responsible for helping native plants reproduce year after year. A pollinator-friendly yard helps this process along. Be prideful that several dedicated plants can make all the difference to a butterfly or hummingbird who need the space to lay their larvae or some extra food.
Mulch your leaves in fall
If the grass isn’t on your top lawn care priority list, that’s okay. Letting leaves lie over fall is a great option to provide shelter for ground insects and small animals when the weather turns chilly. Still, a surplus of leaves can be a nuisance. This is why mulching leaves in the fall to spread in the spring is a win-win idea for a sustainable yard. Talk about using a resource to the fullest; leaves never exit your yard but still supply excellent nutrients year-round. Think twice before raking and bagging the leaves on the ground for curbside pickup. But still, make a big pile to jump into before shredding them for mulch ground cover when the blossoms return.
Actually visit your yard
Of course, all of these suggestions above are useless if you don’t interact or enjoy the sustainable yard you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Breathe in the scent of your freshly planted herbs. The herbs that drive away harmful beetles or rodents allow your sunflowers to grow, which bring in pollinators. Enjoy the gentle hum of a bumblebee or the frenzied flight of a hummingbird. Let nature reward *you* for letting it flourish. It may be the mental positivity you need to work on more sustainable projects in your yard!
For insights, designs, and general questions on ways to make your yard more sustainable, reach out to Greenscape Geeks here. Ready to get started ASAP? Schedule a consultation with us virtually or in-person.
Greenscape Geeks is a central Indiana landscape architecture and landscape design, construction, and lawn maintenance company, serving Indianapolis (including Meridian Kessler, Herron Morton, Williams Creek, and Irvington), Carmel, Noblesville, Fishers, and Zionsville.