Creating an Eco-Friendly Yard
You can have a lush green yard and still make it eco-friendly. Here are some tips on creating an eco-friendly yard in Arizona.
Things to Avoid
While pesticides and herbicides are a quick, effective approach to lawn maintenance, you may be interested in methods that are a bit kinder to the environment, and to the family pets who explore the outside world with their noses and mouths. Instead, opt for:
- Pulling weeds manually. It doesn’t have to be a hassle if you commit to a regular schedule. As an added bonus, you’ll get a great workout!
- Natural herbicides like hot water, table salt, vinegar, or essential oils like cinnamon, clove or citrus. Simply pour or spray over unsightly weeds.
- Take the garlic and onion from your garden and return it to the Earth as a pesticide. Pulse one whole onion and one clove of garlic in a food processor then add one quart of water. Use the diffused water as a plant spray. (Note: dogs should not eat onions. They are toxic to them.)
Taking the First Step
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed when restructuring your lawn to be more environmentally friendly. Implement one or two easy changes and build upon your eco-friendly yard from there.
- Harvest rainwater to naturally hydrate your plants. Because rainwater contains less salt and more nitrogen, it’s a healthier choice than tap water. Create a basin to allow for collection and optimal saturation.
- Be a smarter waterer. Take the time to learn the specific water needs of each plant in your yard as they’re not all created equal. Use a soaker hose rather than a sprinkler to cut water usage up to 50%. Water earlier in the day to minimize evaporation.
- Create a compost bin to nourish your garden, aerate soil, and decrease your contribution to local landfills. Fill the compost with items such as: fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and used filters, tissues, paper towels, egg shells, and shredded paper.
Choose Plants Wisely
Even if you keep your lawn in immaculate condition, the fact is some plants are better than others in terms of maintenance and the environmental impact made by watering and fertilizing.
- Indigenous trees and flowers require less care than plants that aren’t native to Arizona. Find the right plants for your yard and you’ll see them thrive without much work on your part.
- Utilize companion planting as a way to optimize small garden space and promote healthy growth. Companion plants also create healthy soil and discourage unwanted pests from settling in the area. Some examples of companion plants are:
- Roses and garlic to act as a natural pest repellent.
- Carrots and leeks due to the smells of each.
- Chives and tomatoes—the former protects the latter.
- Cucumbers, radishes, and dill keep cucumber beetles away from the whole bunch.
- Carrots and spring onions—a mutually beneficial match.
- Attract pollinators with specific flower species.
- Butterflies love bright hues of yellow, red, orange and purple along with flowers with flat blossoms. They also flock to fallen fruit, so don’t be afraid to leave it on the ground—it’s great butterfly food and a natural compost.
- Bees are attracted to the natural pollen and nectar of wildflowers and bright flowers that grow singly rather than together.
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