Green backyards have more than just lawns.

28 05 2008

It’s been a busy week for me as work gets into swing at the state park. And as more people in the northern U.S. finally catch up to summer, it’s time to talk about going green in your backyard.

Landscaping with native plants is often called xeriscaping (xeri meaning “dry”), because native plants are adapted to the region’s climate and soil conditions and therefore require infrequent to no supplemental watering. Xeriscaping is technically gardening with a focus on water conservation, however, so I like to refer to wholistically green gardening as conservation landscaping.

Though I don’t have a garden behind my city apartment, I did grow up with gardeners, and I had to do a large amount of research on the subject for a work project. So, I will share some useful links and tips on landscaping in a way that enhances the natural potential of your garden while offering habitat for wildlife and miles more eco-friendly benefits than traditional gardening.

The first and most important tip? Don’t obsess about having a green lawn. Lawns are artificial to begin with–the grass wasn’t here before Europeans were–and keeping them green to the current American standard requires more money, pesticides, herbicides, petroleum-based fertilizers, time spent mowing, gasoline, and water, water, water than Earth can stand. Cut back your lawn habit slowly by allowing it to go a little brown during drought periods and by reducing its size over time. The brown is a natural way for the grass to go dormant, and it will return. Meanwhile, replace the parts of your lawn which you don’t need with beautiful gardens of native plants, and watch the wildlife flock to your doorstep. And stay tuned for more on conservation landscaping.

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One response

31 05 2008
Mister Moone

…Right on Green-Lady! 🙂

I think less lawn is best – it took me only 20 minutes to cut mine with a push-type Gas mower…but as for plants, only half of my trees are “native” – still, the birds seem to like them…it seems there are even more brids here this year than last year…

Wayne

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