This is a guest post by Brandi Irwin, owner of Fortress Landscaping Design based in Middle Tennessee.
Sustainable practices are a growing trend not only in the United States but all over the world. Long-term, using sustainable practices will help prolong our natural resources that, as a result, will help the environment, our future, and our health.
Sustainable Landscaping can be described as creating an attractive environment that is equal with the surrounding climate and requires less resources, such as fertilizer, pesticides and water. Sustainable Landscape should be functional, cost efficient, environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and able to maintain.
The following are some sustainable practices that you can incorporate into your landscape/lawn:
- The Use of Rain Barrels: Stored rain water from downspouts that can be saved for future use such as irrigation for the landscape/lawn.
- Using a Compost Barrel or Pile: Recycled vegetable/fruit peels, food scraps, grass clippings, leaves or decomposing material (paper towels). After the material has decomposed, it will create organic rich soil for your garden, landscape, or flower pots.
- The Use of Solar Panels: Solar panels are devices that are energy producers, creating electricity from natural sunlight. The best placement for solar panels would be the south-facing side of your home or structure.
- The Usage of Plants with Microclimate Control: The amount of sun, wind, and moisture that hits your home can be controlled with plants. For example, in the Winter the North and North West winds increase; therefore, planting evergreen trees to deflect the winds will greatly help with energy costs. Another example–plant deciduous trees on the South/Southeast side of your home to allow shade in Summer (cooling effect) and allow sun to penetrate through the trees in Winter (heating effect).
- Use Native Plants: find plants adaptable to your area to reduce maintenance and the use of natural resources such as water.
- Plant a Vegetable/Herb Garden and Fruit Trees: Recently Dr. Josh posted about the benefits of Vegetable Gardens. If you can’t grow a garden, buy your food from a local source such as from your local farmers market.
- Use Natural Ways to Get Rid of Insects/Pests: Instead of using herbicides/pesticides such as Roundup and other lawn chemicals, it is best to use natural products that you may have around your house. One example–a mixture of water, dried cayenne and jalapeño peppers (boil and filter) can be used to remove Japanese Beetles.
- Use Natural Fertilizers: Some natural fertilizers to use are decomposed manure and compost. After it has decomposed, till into soil.
- Plant Flowers: Planting flowers will help sustain our environment, such as assisting with bee shortage and pollinating fruit trees and other plants.
- Plant a GREEN Roof: Green Roofs usually have anywhere from 4-12 inches of soil depending on the design. They hold various plant life including vegetable/herb gardens, native grasses, shrubs, and small trees. Some of the benefits of Green Roofs are that they reduce water run-off, naturally cool the building, and save energy and cost.
The 5 Benefits of using Sustainable Practices in your Landscape/Lawn:
- Good for People and the Environment: helps people, animals and wildlife. Prevents erosion, purifies our air and cools the earth.
- Saves Money in the Long Run: the use of solar panels, rain barrels and plant placement will save a lot of energy and cut your energy bills in half!
- Reduces the Use of Energy and Maintenance: By using native plants and grasses, it will in turn reduce the need for maintenance, material, and labor.
- Health Benefits: Dr. Josh had a guest post recently on the benefits of Raw Vegetables.
Some other health benefits? Sustainable practices eliminate chemical usage and uses more natural resources that are not harmful to our health. Also, using sustainable practices helps people physically and mentally stay active. For example, growing your own vegetable/herb garden is a good character builder that is beneficial for the whole family to get outside and to be active and educational!
Being a Good Steward: God gave us this beautiful Earth and an abundance of natural resources to use to sustain us. We need to use them wisely and not waste or take them for granted.
The uses of sustainable practices are a growing trend that will have a positive influence on our health and environment; which will meet the needs of the present without leaving a lasting effect for the future.
What are some sustainable practices that you are using in your landscape/lawn or home?