1. Conserve water and control water runoff
Water plants only when they need it. Lawns only need about 1 inch of rain a week. Set up a rain gauge to record weekly rainfall.
For lawns, use a low-angle spray instead of oscillating sprinklers as they result in less water loss due to evaporation. Position watering devices to prevent water damage by water falling in storm gutters, walkways or the street.
Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses instead of oscillating sprinklers as they result in less water loss due to evaporation.
Position watering devices to prevent water damage by water falling in storm gutters, walkways or the street. Mulch beds to help retain soil moisture. Set up a rain barrel to collect rain water for watering plants.
Plant a rain garden or develop a swale to help retain water in the soil and prevent runoff.
Install a cistern to collect water to use for plants, washing clothes, bathing and other non-potable uses as local ordinances allow.
Investigate the use of grey water use in your area.
Remove hard surfaces in your landscape to allow water to percolate into the soil and not run off in storm gutters. Replace with a porous surface if needed.
Incorporate rain is scaping features such to manage stormwater. (see our Rainscaping Guide)
Don’t use the hose to wash off your driveway, deck or walkway. Instead, use a broom or an electric blower. Gas-powered blowers produce pollutants.
2. Reduce fossil-fuel energy use
Reduce the size of your lawn by replacing some of it with beds of shrubs or drought tolerant perennials.
Have your lawn mower serviced regularly so it runs efficiently and pollutes less?
Pull a few lawn weeds by hand. It is often more efficient and less damaging than resorting to chemical sprays.
Don’t mow your lawn more frequently than required. Keep the mower blade sharp.
Replace your gas-powered mower with an electric one or switch to one of the new, user-friendly push mowers.
Get some exercise and do some hand digging.
Pull weeds by hand. It is often more efficient and less damaging than resorting to chemical sprays.
Add landscape lighting only where it is needed. And when used, use compact fluorescent bulbs or solar-powered lights. Low voltage lighting also uses less electricity and is safer for outdoor use.
Cut down on holiday lights and invest in the new LED lights that use a lot less energy.
Demand higher accountability of local governments for their expenditures. Do we need all the night light pollution around us? As energy prices rise, demand that local governments focus on what is most important in their expenditures. Reducing costs on lighting buildings, parking lots, gardens, etc. at night may just be a waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere.
3. Deal with yard and garden “waste” in a sound way
Collecting lawn clipping is not necessary and depletes the soil of nutrients and organic matter. Grass cutting does not lead to thatch buildup. Instead, use a mulching lawn mower so grass clippings don’t have to be collected.If collected, grass clippings can be added to your compost pile.
Whatever you do, don’t send leaves to a landfill. Instead, compost them or use, support, or work to develop a yard waste recycling program in your neighborhood.