Many people are looking to go green in their everyday lives, but often don’t think about their landscape. Your lawn and garden provide the perfect opportunity for making environmental choices that can make a difference. There are many steps you can take to make your lawn more sustainable, as well as save you time, effort, and money – and help the environment.
- Plant native. The flowers, shrubs, and trees that naturally grow here in South Florida will be the easiest and most low-maintenance to have in your landscape. They are able to survive on our regular rainfall and will only require watering in drought conditions (even then, many are equipped to survive on their own). These plants also will require little in the way of fertilization or pH alterations.
- Maximize your water efficiency. Installing rain barrels and using drip irrigation systems can revolutionize how you hydrate your landscape. Your water bill will decrease significantly, and the rainwater will be healthier for your plants than treated hose water. Also, pay attention to your yard when it rains–if the water tends to pool in a certain area that has a lower grade than the surrounding landscape, concentrate water-loving plants there to minimize the amount of extra watering they need.
- Keep it natural. For easy maintenance and longevity, it is an excellent idea to use natural items like stones, rocks and pebbles for your hardscaping. Small projects can even be completed with recycled local rubble, such as bricks or concrete from old buildings. When approaching larger projects, we offer an excellent variety of stones for pavers, structures, and garden bed lining.
- Use a low-maintenance sod on your landscape. We recently discussed pros and cons of different types of sod for Florida landscaping. If your goal is to save the most time and money, choose a low-maintenance sustainable sod such as Bermuda grass or Zoysia. These types grow in a variety of soil conditions and are tolerant of drought conditions, so you don’t have to worry as much about keeping them heavily watered.
- Shade is your friend. Plant tall shrubs or small trees alongside west and east-facing walls and windows, as these areas receive the most direct sunlight during the summer. With the plants casting shadows on your home, they will mitigate some of the heating effect and help keep your AC unit from being overworked.
- Use solar lights for exterior lighting. If you enjoy sitting in your garden or on your back porch at night, but don’t want to set up a whole electrical system for lights, go solar. Solar-powered lights bring a cozy atmosphere to your landscape without any batteries or electricity required. Singular bulbs throughout a garden add whimsy, while solar-powered string lights can illuminate intimate summer gatherings with friends on your patio.
- Put local wildlife to use. Insect pests are never fun to deal with. To help keep their populations controlled, consider installing birdhouses and bat houses. These wildlife species are capable of eating large amounts of insects–in fact, a single bat catches approximately 1,000 insects every hour. The presence of these animals in your landscape will make a significant impact on pest populations.
Visit Big Earth Landscape Supply‘s store and garden center to find materials to make your lawn more eco-friendly and sustainable.