Landscaping For the Environment
Landscaping is an activity that changes the environment. It does not matter how big or small the lawn is, landscaping can make it much more appealing for the homeowner and guests alike.
Because of the impact that changing the landscape can have on the surrounding area, careful planning should go into each project. Things that were not an issue prior to changing the landscape, such as water runoff, could crop up and create some nasty issues that must be dealt with.
Not all of the issues raised by landscaping are immediately obvious. There are some things that can be done to help minimize the impact on the environment and end up with an earth-friendly landscape.
1. Use drought resistant plants
No matter the amount of rainfall in the season that plants are put in, with each new season, there is the threat of drought. Planning ahead and using plants that are tolerant of these conditions means less watering that will need to be done.
In times when water is plentiful, these plants will flourish. In the dry weather, they may become somewhat dormant. Choosing plants that do not demand large amounts of water will make maintaining the landscape an easier job no matter how much moisture the season brings.
2. Use organic fertilizers
Man made fertilizers can have a negative effect on the soil. This is especially true when used by homeowners since most homeowners tend to over apply them. These fertilizers block the amount of nutrients that plants can absorb from the soil.
Over-applying the fertilizers means that the ground may not hold all that is put down. This is when the chemicals are available to leach into the water tables. This is the underground water that flows all over. Wells can become contaminated, causing unsafe drinking water and health issues for anyone consuming it.
Man made fertilizers are also made of chemicals that are not necessarily healthy for humans. Exposure to these chemicals (most commonly bare skin) can cause health issues.
Organic fertilizers contain decomposed natural materials. There is no chemical basis for them. The only exposure issue is that the person applying the compost may get dirty, or not like the smell. The compost is full of ingredients that occur in and support nature. Ground water contamination is no longer a concern, neither is the drinking water from any wells in the area.
3. Use trees to support the landscape
Trees serve several purposes. Not only do they provide shady areas around your lawn, but they can also protect the house from the elements helping to reduce energy costs. Trees have extensive root systems which helps to hold the soil in place.
4. Divert rain water
During seasons when rain is scarce it becomes more obvious to everyone that conserving water is important. When designing your landscape, why not build in a way to divert rain water so that it can be used to support the plants or other parts of the landscape?
Finding ways to use rainwater can be as simple as installing the roll away sprinklers that attach to the bottom of the downspouts on the house. If the landscape includes a pool, the water can be diverted to help refill the water in the pool. Use a rain barrel to catch excess water from the roof and use it to water the plants when the weather is dry.
Thinking about your landscaping and the environment does not have to mean major changes to plans. There are many subtle differences that can have a major impact. The landscape designs of one small yard can help nature improve on the ability to support itself and the area around it.