by Lisa Walkerneighborhoodsprout.org

For homeowners, landscaping is a crucial component of our home’s exterior. To keep our lawns and gardens looking healthy and beautiful, it takes a fair amount of upkeep, but this can also be tough on the environment. To that end, more homeowners are shifting away from the turf and instead using eco-conscious gardening methods. Not only do eco-friendly gardens use less water, but they often require less maintenance, saving you time that you can spend enjoying your home.

What is Xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping involves using drought-resistant plants to make up the bulk of your landscaping. When grouping the plants, those with similar watering needs should be placed in the same areas together. Picking the right plants for xeriscaping has a lot to do with where you live and the accompanying zone. Hardy plants consist of everything from succulents, to native shrubs, to ornamental grasses. Some other ideas include:

  • Evergreen and Deciduous trees
  • Flowering shrubs and Hairy-leafed plants

Do a little research on the plants that do best in your area, and browse Pinterest for design inspiration. Once you see all the creative ways you can landscape with drought-resistant plants, you’ll be itching to put on your gardening gloves and get to work. If you have more of a brown thumb but still want to incorporate xeriscaping, consider working with a native landscaper who can help you create a design that fits your climate and your preferred aesthetic.

Starting a Rain Barrel

A rain barrel allows you to take advantage of whatever water Mother Nature blesses you with for a longer amount of time. For each inch of rain that falls on 500 square feet of roof, the homeowner can collect as much as 300 gallons of water. Using this water to maintain your yard and garden can end up saving you big bucks. According to data obtained through a survey by DC Urban Gardeners, a rain barrel can lower a home’s water bill by about $35 a month throughout the summer season. You can find rain barrel kits at hardware stores or make your own with a large plastic bin and a few other materials.

Mulch is Your New Best Friend

Keep your plants’ roots moist and protected with the power of mulch. Not only does a good layer of mulch help preserve water, you can make your own organic mulch with common kitchen and yard waste. Creating your own compost is easy, efficient, and free. It has a rich and dark coloring and is super nutritious as it is largely made of decomposed kitchen scraps like vegetable peels and eggshells. You can also add things like grass clippings, leaves, sawdust, shredded paper, cardboard, garden plants, and even garden weeds for extra bulk. Another great option for mulch is shredded autumn leaves– though they are obviously only available seasonally.
Your yard is its own little ecosystem, so it’s best to work with the earth instead of trying to make it look like something it is not. An eco-friendly yard that utilizes things such as xeriscaping and homemade mulch contributes to the health of this ecosystem. Small projects like building a rain barrel can help preserve the resources you have so you can preserve water and save money. Over time, you will spend less time and money on yard maintenance while being kind to the earth.

Congrats to the 2021 Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters Funded Projects
March 2021 Newsletter