Lawns are usually one of the worst solutions for landscaping, environmentally speaking. For the rich, green lawns most people like, chemical fertilizers are used, as well as herbicides to kill weeds. These all run off into natures water system, wreaking havoc along the way. If you live in a dry area, there is the added environmental cost of using up valuable water. Of course, most lawns also require regular mowing, so they exact another toll on owners as well, either on their time, or on higher gardening service costs. Assuming your lawnmower is gas or electric, it's probably also contributing to the burning of fossil fuels as well. Mowers pollute more than cars.
There are ways to make lawns much more eco-friendly, especially if you live in a place where irrigation is not needed. Cutting out all chemical fertilizer and pesticide, using only manure, weeding by hand, mowing with a push lawnmower can make the impact of a lawn vastly lower, but there are alternatives to lawns which are less maintenance and can be more rewarding. Even just cutting down the size of the lawn will lower the impact it has.
Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, there are many options for what to do with the space a lawn uses.
Around the country, many nurseries now have great selections of natives that you can plant, which will require little care or water.
In the southwest, cacti and succulents can make a beautiful xeriscape garden.
A front patio if you don't have one can give you a space to sit comfortably in front of your house, sip a coffee, and say hi to your neighbors as they go by.
Most people never consider edibles for the front yard, simply because it's not common, but it's a great space to grow many edibles. A beautiful herb garden, fruit trees, and why not a full vegetable garden?
- Edible gardening
- Patio ideas
- Cacti and succulents
- Herb garden