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5 Home Improvement Ideas for a Greener Home.

5 Home Improvement Ideas for a Greener Home.

Jan 25 2016

People who make the decision to go green are doing both themselves and the entire planet a huge favor. In addition to saving financially, doing your part to protect the environment goes a long way in maintaining the sustainability of planet Earth. One of the best places for you to make an effort is in your own backyard.

Here are five ways to practice eco-friendly landscaping:

1. Choose turf over grass in dry, desert-like areas
There are plenty of reasons to choose turf over grass, especially if you live in a desert region. One of the biggest problems you'll encounter in such an environment occurs while trying to maintain healthy grass. The dry air and lack of rain are detrimental to growing grass. Even if you manage to get some sprouting up from the ground, it's likely a dry spell will kill it quickly. Instead of waiting for that to happen, have turf added to your yard. The maintenance of turf is minimal, especially in comparison to grass. Forget about watering, mowing or fertilizing it for starters. Additionally, artificial grass is safe and long-lasting. You don't have to replace your turf often, and you can rest assured knowing it is safe for your pets and children, since it doesn't have any fertilizer.

2. Use compost in the garden

"Compost will improve the quality of any soil."

If you know anything about gardening, you know the quality of soil dictates success. According to the University of Illinois, compost will improve the quality of any soil. By altering the texture of existing soil, the added compost helps the ground absorb water, nutrients and air, which is extremely beneficial for the growth of any plants. The compost itself goes a long way in adding nutrients to your existing soil, and that's because of what makes up compost. There are three nutrients that are essential for plant growth: nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. You will find all three in your compost. Moreover, you'll save money by using compost because you won't have to buy nearly as many fertilizers for your garden. Just throw your grass clippings, leaves and even veggie scraps from your kitchen together and you have the makings of your own compost.

3. Water the garden with rainwater

Water preservation should be at the top of your list if you want to help save the environment. That said, there are plenty of ways for you to do your part in water conservation. Using rainwater to water your garden plants is one of those ways. Collecting rainwater for personal use is fairly easy. In fact, it can be as simple as leaving empty barrels outside while it rains. It's a good idea to prop the barrels (or whatever device you use to collect the water) above the ground, so that soil and other runoff from your yard won't seep into the bottom of your containers. Using rain to hydrate your plants will save you some money on your next water bill and improve the quality of the plants you are growing. That's because rainwater contains far more naturally occurring nutrients than tap or filtered. As such, the better quality water will lead to better quality plants that you can grow in your garden.

Collect rainwater to use in your garden

4. Look into companion planting
Companion planting is essentially planning where you're going to put certain species of plants so that they can best help each other grow. Doing so can ensure you get the maximum yield of plants and herbs in your garden. Here are a few pairings recommended by the Farmer's Almanac:

  • Beans and tomatoes.
  • Horseradish and potatoes.
  • Beans and spinach.
  • Pumpkins and corn.

5. Attract the right bugs and get rid of the wrong ones
When it comes to bugs, not all of them are bad for the plants in your garden. In fact, some insects actually help fight off predators to your plants. Moreover, some bugs can help pollinate (and in doing so, fertilize) your plants. Ladybugs are perhaps the most well-known for their help in gardening. They feed on most soft-bodied bugs that eat the plants you're working so hard to grow. Do yourself a favor and research what kinds of insects are good for the veggies and herbs you're growing in your garden.

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