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Go Green in your backyard Go Green in your backyard
A ladybug is cute and a great natural predator as well.Bees are neccessary to pollinate plants.More trees and shrubs, less lawn!A garden is a productive use of land and water.

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An Eco Friendly Backyard

Top Ten Ways to Go Green in Your Backyard

            Switching over to an eco-friendly lifestyle doesn't have to only take place indoors; you can also go green in your backyard. Doing so can be one of the most rewarding home practices you can imagine for a multitude of reasons. Imagine freeing your children from exposure to pesticides, and saving thousands of dollars on water bills every year. Think about organic vegetables on the table, that you only had to walk to the backyard to get. If these ideas sound enticing then read on, it's all a part of the top ten ways to go green in your backyard.

1.      Reduce Your Lawn Size

Can you guess what the largest watered crop in the US is? That's right, grass! With 40 million acres, grass used for lawns constitutes the largest irrigated crop in the US. The lawnmowers we use to manicure our gas produce as much pollution in one hour as a car that had driven 20 miles would. The amount of pesticides placed on our lawns totals in the billions of pounds. Get rid of all that lawn and go green in your backyard by planting native flora, or better yet plant a garden which will look lovely and provide food for your table.

2.      Use Compost, Not Chemicals

The synthetic fertilizers we dump on our lawns can create toxic buildups of arsenic and other chemicals over time, it that really the sort of thing we want to expose our families to? Composting is a much healthier way to fertilize our lawns and gardens, and it can also help reduce our trash output by hundreds of pounds each year.

3 .    Use Natural Predators

Instead of contributing to toxic buildup by spraying chemical pesticides go green in your backyard by taking advantage of natural predators. Ladybugs are cute and great at eating aphids. Lacewing flies are also great natural pest control because they require a vast amount of food during their lifetime.

4.    Grow Your Own Food

As we mentioned earlier you should go green in your backyard by ditching the vast expanses of lawn. A good replacement for all of that lawn is an organic garden. Gardening provides fresh vegetables to your table and also provides a good opportunity to get outside and exercise. Find out how long your growing season is, and plant to accommodate it. Some plants grown commercially that use a lot of pesticides include broccoli and spinach, which are easy to grow at home. Prolific producers include cucumbers (which can be pickled) and zucchini (which can be frozen and used in bread).

5.      Invite Pollinators

Unfortunately the world is experiencing a drastic disappearance of pollinators in the last hundred years. You, of course, need these bees, wasps and butterflies to ensure your garden is fruitful. Help create a sanctuary for pollinators by eschewing pesticides and planting attractive plants like butterfly bushes and lemon balm, which also makes a great cooking herb. This practice is green because it not only helps you and your garden, but also helps bolster the lagging population of pollinators for the entire planet.

6.      Buy a Gas Grill

Of course, you're going to want to share your garden with others, and there's nothing like seasoned squash fresh off the grill. But while you are enjoying your summer barbequing keep in mind that gas releases far fewer pollutants than a charcoal grill. Also, try to keep the lid shut tight during cooking, this way you aren't wasting heat and releasing gasses into the air.

7.     Buy Recycled Furniture

Nothing is worse than seeing a broken plastic lawn chair at the dump, because you know it won't start decomposing for about another 5,000 years or so. Skip the cheapo stuff and do the right thing by going green in the backyard with recycled lawn furniture. This can take two methods. The first involves buying new products made from recycled materials, such as colorful plastic Adirondack chairs made from recycled milk jugs. Another way is simply to buy used furniture. Many garage sales have treasures that would look great in your backyard and will last you for many years to come.

8.     Harvest Rainwater

Looking for a free source of water free of chlorine and other additives? Try rainwater! Simply put out a rain barrel during a shower, and revel in the free water that is great for watering the lawn with. If you have gutters the best place for a rain barrel is at the bottom of a downspout.

9.      Water With Drip Lines

When you water with conventional sprinklers you waste a lot of water through simple evaporation, especially in drier climates. Go green in your backyard by laying drip lines all throughout your garden and flower beds. The steady drip of water close to the soil will not only irrigate your plants more thoroughly, but will also save you water that would have otherwise disappeared into thin air.

10.  Recycle Gray Water

Think of the wasted resource that is the water that goes down the sink and tub. On average a person uses 60 gallons of water during a shower, water that could be used to irrigate our lawns and gardens. You can make a giant step towards going green by collecting the gray water in your house using it to water your plants.

 Going green in your backyard isn't about spending money; it's about common sense and hard work. Think about it though, can you imagine the positive effects if even 100,000 people stopped using pesticides and stopped wasting water? Why don't we stop imagining, and see what would really happen if we acted?

References

  • http://epa.gov/greenacres/
  • http://www.refusetousechemlawn.org/uploads/12/Refuse_to_Use_Chemlawn_Be_Truly_Green.pdf
  • http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/greenscapes/index.htm
Submitted by cennywenny on Sep 29, 2008