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Going Green – and Keeping the Green in Your Wallet
Making your backyard landscaping environmentally sensitive needn’t cost you more money. In fact, if done appropriately, having a “greener landscape” around your home can actually save you money in the long run and add value to your home that will be factored in when selling your property.
Here are four central ways to save money on your yard while adding value to your home and becoming more environmentally conscious.
Save water, save cash
In some areas, the cost associated with irrigating gardens and lawns has become prohibitive. According to the Bay Sounding newsletter, in some Florida neighborhoods, the cost of watering a typical 5,000 square foot area can cost upwards of $4 every time the underground sprinklers are turned on. Over-watering also has an additional cost beyond the hit to your pocketbook. It washes away the costly fertilizers you’ve used to feed your gardens and lawn. There are some ways, however, to cut back on water consumption. First of all, you can develop your landscaping to use water efficiently. This practice is referred to as “Xeriscape,” and is pronounced “Zera-scape.” Xeriscaping refers to creating a landscape that limits the need for irrigation. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends you build your soil with compost and mulch to make sure it holds water and to reduce evaporation. Also according to the EPA, using soaker hoses can save up to 50 percent of water usage compared to a conventional sprinkler.
Bedding plants (either perennial or annual) and ultra-green lawns often need additional nutrients. For fertilizer, consider “natural organic” or “slow-release” fertilizers that feed plants evenly over time. The result is healthier plants that have strong root systems and will cost less to maintain. Another benefit is less fertilizer runoff into water systems.
Consider holistic pest management
While they may not be pretty, the truth is only about 15 percent of insects in your yard are pests that could harm your plants. Many people will immediately treat any insect problem with pesticides, but those can be costly and ineffective. Instead, consider the underlying problem that could be causing issues in your backyard landscaping. Are you using healthy soil and mulch? Are you using a wide variety of plants so that if insects do attack, it won’t wipe out your garden completely?
A cut above
It may sound odd, but mowing your lawn higher can save you money and lead to a better quality lawn. Most grasses should be mowed at more than two inches high, and this taller grass will have consistently deeper roots that strangle out weeds. Moreover, practice natural lawn care and leave the clippings in the land where they will add nutrients to your lawn.