Kelly Mead | |

Green or natural landscaping ,also known as native gardening , is when you use indigenous plants in your residential or commercial landscaped gardens. These plants can include local ones such as grasses, ground-cover, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees, as well as using boulders, rocks and locally found material to border theses plantings. Making the landscaped area and the surrounding natural environment blend seamlessly is an important aspect of green landscaping.

Before making the move to change your landscaping to a greener design, you should look into changing your current practices of your existing landscape. Look for ways to reduce your use of power tools. Use mulch, sometimes available from local landfills, to conserve you water needed for your plantings. Making a compost pile to process organic waste and reuse as fertilizer in your gardens. Use natural enemies instead of pesticides to rid your plants of insects, see the EPAs’ integrated pest management for more information.

Now before running to your local nursery or garden store for local plants to use take the time to actually asses your property and the needs you have for it. how much sun and shade does it get and where. What is your soils type(s) and where is your drainage, or do you need more/less drainage. Make a rough plot map that shows your homes’ location including doors, walkways, patios, driveways, etc. Make note of neighbor concerns such as views you wish to keep or cover, noise reduction, privacy issues, etc. Make sure buried utilities are noted, most communities have a service to help with that, as well as overhead lines. Plants that you wish to keep should also be marked and their full height, and known characteristics and needs. Don’t forget to mark your directions of , south, east, and west as well as slopes and their direction and degree.

Once your map is complete now think of what use(s) you want from your land. Do you have children and wish to incorporate a play area or pool, have dogs that need a run, want to grow some or all of your own food, need to store a boat or RV, need additional buffers for privacy, noise or wind, and any other concerns or desires you can think of.

Now you need to research your local environment. What plants are native, which plants work well together, what plants meet your needs. Going to local parks and nature centers and walking through them will give you ideas of your likes and dislikes. Local park service may even have clinics or talks to help you. Use the internet and research your zone. The EPA website has dedicated sections to each geographic zone and how to green landscape there.

Time for putting it all together on you map and then start buying your new plants. Once your plan is completed go for it. All this work will pay off in the end. As you will no longer be spending 40 or more hours a year on yard work or spending about $700 a year per acre. Think of all those Saturdays or Sundays you can now use to enjoy your lawn instead of manicuring it. Being able to walk by the fertilizers, pesticides, and other yard chemicals in the store. Not storing or using those harmful chemical where our children, pets or even ourselves can be harmed by them. Not adding to pollution of our waterways and so many other benefits can be a power incentive to change to this environmentally friendly way of landscaping.

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