Creating Your Eco Friendly Garden
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Is Your Garden Design Eco Friendly?
Just how "Eco friendly" are your lawn and garden design?
Do you find you are more concerned about curbing your carbon footprint when doing your outdoor chores than you were a few years ago? If you answered yes, you are not alone. The National Gardening Association (NGA) finds that 9 out of 10 Americans believe it is important to maintain their landscapes in a way that is beneficial to the environment.
Believe it or not, smart landscaping is not only Eco friendly but also can save you money while reducing your household's greenhouse gas emissions. But if you are like me you may not be sure where to start in making your lawn and garden more Eco friendly.Well NGA took the reins to help us better understand what we can do to follow more environmentally friendly practices when caring for our lawns and gardens. Here are some interesting surveys they conducted to help:
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The NGA asked a representative sample of U.S. households:
- "How environmentally friendly do you think are the practices currently used to maintain residential, commercial, and municipal lawns and landscapes?"
- They found that only one out of five surveyed felt that the current maintenance practices would receive a passing "green" grade.
Now that being said, we all realize we really can not control how commercial or public lawns and gardens are cared for but we can take control of our own backyards. The NGA also asked the representatives the same question in reference to how green their own practices were. Amazingly most homeowners only followed a sixth of the Eco friendly practices on their own lawns, landscaping and gardens. Although most did answer that they watered their lawns and gardens only when it was needed to maintain and add beauty to their homes and neighborhoods, only about half followed the labels on pesticides and fertilizers. Less than half followed the recommended practices of leaving grass clippings on their lawns and keeping fertilizer, pesticide, yard and pet waste out of water sources and off pavement or concrete.
I have to say I am one of the guilty parties. I do leave my grass clippings on my lawn but I am not as careful about the fertilizer and pesticides as I should be. I have tried to follow planting flowers and plants that are right for my climate but I do occasionally try something that is really not suited for my planting zone because I like the plant or tree. Mulching is another recommendation from the NGA that fewer than half surveyed said they used as well as cutting their lawns using the highest recommended mower setting. If you are like me setting the mower to cut a little closer sometimes prolongs the next cutting. So again, "guilty" as charged.
When it comes to recycling yard waste by composting or ensuring we apply insect or weed control properly, there were less than a third surveyed that did. Using well-adapted or native plants in our landscaping as well as removing poorly adapted and exotic or invasive plants is another way we can be more Eco friendly but fewer than 1/4 surveyed used these practices. We can also take the time to learn about ways to care for our lawns, specific plants, soil and the wildlife native to where we live.
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Although this survey was limited, it does show that we as a whole are not reducing our carbon footprints in our own backyards as much as we could.
I really think taking personal responsibility to learn what the NGA's recommendations for environmentally friendly lawn, landscaping and gardening practices are, then acting upon them is the first step to maintaining our own Eco Friendly Garden.