The importance of caring for and preserving this planet cannot be overstated. If you’ve recently decided to go green, it can be overwhelming to consider overhauling your entire home at once. Fortunately, this is not necessary, and many small changes implemented over time can add up to make a big difference.
We’ve picked our top five favorite solutions for an environmentally friendly backyard to get you started.
Install Solar Lighting
Instead of using battery or electrical powered lighting, purchase solar technology that will essentially power itself. Solar panels absorb the energy of the sun’s rays by day and utilize it for power at night. There are a wide variety of uses for solar energy in your backyard, and with solar paneling becoming more and more affordable, with an initial investment you will soon make back the money you put into it.
Purchase Quality Decor
We live in a consumer culture, and when making a purchase, it is tempting to buy the cheapest option and replace it with another cheap item when it is no longer functional. Unfortunately the creation of these cheap goods results in excessive greenhouse gas emissions, and their disposable nature means that more and more non-degradable items end up in a landfill each year. Instead of buying cheap and often, invest in quality lawn furniture and other outdoor items. Not only will you help save the environment, but in the long run you will save money as well.
Plant Native Trees & Perennials
Doing this benefits the environment in three ways. First, planting native species instead of imported ones reduces your carbon footprint, as the plants do not have to be transported from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. To maximize the green benefits of this approach, buy from a local nursery that grows their own plants. Second, the existing ecosystem of your area is already accustomed to these types of plants, and native birds, insects, and other animals will benefit from these additions to your garden. Other native plants will not be overrun by an invasive species, and all of your ecosystem’s flora can coexist peacefully. Finally, choosing trees and other long-lived plants as opposed to annuals lowers waste, both of the plants themselves and the plastic containers in which they are usually bought.
Much of the trash that the average household throws away is biodegradable. From lawn clippings and fallen leaves to certain food scraps, you will be surprised by just how much you can compost. By composting, you can save space in landfills while generating a useful fertilizer for your garden. For health and safety reasons, there are certain types of trash that should not be placed in a compost pile, so before you begin, be sure to read up on composting here.
Pesticides utilize harsh chemicals to kill insects and other unwanted backyard visitors. Unfortunately, these chemicals do not only impact a few bugs; they have an effect on everything in the ecosystem. Rainwater washes sprays off your lawn, and they come into contact with water supplies, sensitive plants, and possibly animals and humans. Wandering pets and kids can unsuspectingly encounter rat poison with tragic results. Obviously there is a trade off here– either accept a pest problem or risk exposing your home and family to chemicals. While you may be unable to avoid toxic pesticides altogether, you can reduce your use of them by only employing them when absolutely necessary. Whenever possible, choose other methods of pest control, like mousetraps instead of poison or citronella candles instead of mosquito sprays.
With these few small steps, you can be well on your way to preserving the planet we live on. It’s easy to ignore your impact but it’s just as easy to take action and make your home and backyard a greener place.