Environmentally friendly landscaping

Raised bed

A small raised bed flower and vegetable garden

Environmentally friendly lawns and landscaping were once something only a few people cared about. But with the news of climate change and rising temperatures, saving water while caring for your yard has become imperative to help protect our planet. Today, almost everyone can take steps to ensure that their yards are beautiful while still conserving water by making long-term, eco-friendly changes to their lawn. Here’s how to get started.

Learn To Water Effectively

First, you need to learn to water your lawn effectively. WikiHow has the following tips:

  • Recycle water. You can use grey water, which is the gently used water from your home (showers, washing machine). If you do this, you must use environmentally safe soaps and detergents in your house.
  • Use a smart clock that has a rain sensor to reduce water usage.
  • Adjust the way you mow your lawn to mowing in a different direction each time, to prevent divots from forming too deeply. They can collect water, which creates waste.
2015-05-27 12 41 21 A lawn mower on Tranquility Court in the Franklin Farm section of Oak Hill, Fairfax County, Virginia

Lawn mower

Change Your Systems

The next thing you can do is to change your lawn watering systems and methods. You probably don’t need to water as frequently as you think. You can water less if you make sure that the water is getting to the roots.  Early morning (4 to 5 a.m.) is the best time for the roots to absorb the water. Learn more tips from yard care company Toro.

Drip emitter

Another idea recommended by Rainbird is to install an automatic irrigation system. You can set up the system so that plants that need less water get less, adjust it so that it’s “rain smart,” and only water what grows. A properly installed irrigation system can also help ensure the water gets to the roots. Additionally, a drip irrigation system will be more cost-effective.

Catching rainwater is another great way to help you irrigate your lawn. You’ll need a safe and effective way to catch the water, a way to store it and a filtration system. Learn about this process from Homestead Dreamer.

Water-Conscious Landscaping

Another option that is available, especially if you are making changes to your yard, is to create some water-conscious landscaping. You can limit grass areas, use mulch to cover areas around plants, and provide good soil. These are just some of the ideas you’ll find at Green Building Elements.

You should also make eco-friendly planting choices, such as:

  • Plant a rain garden, which can help filter runoff after a rainstorm. Choose plants that can tolerate wet sites. Generally, native plants are your best bet, according to this article from Better Homes & Gardens.
  • Another idea is selecting native plants and trees. The University of Georgia offers more information on the benefits of trees, including how they can contribute to your water conservation efforts, as well as a list of more than two dozen that thrive in the region.

Tools for the Job

Having the right tools for the job will be helpful, too:

  • Make sure that your lawn mower is an appropriate size for your lawn. If it’s too small, water will be wasted down the divots it creates. And if it’s not cutting the lawn properly, the water will have a harder time getting to the roots.
  • Whatever plants and trees you do choose, you’ll need garden gloves that will protect your hands and get the job done.
  • If you’re collecting rain, make sure your rain barrels are safe and free from rust and other issues. Once you choose them, you can use decorative paint and create a pretty scene to make them part of your landscaping.

Saving water while you maintaining your lawn is not hard if you have the right tools and approach. Make this part of your overall contribution to conserving water in your home.


This article was submitted by guest contributor Clara Beaufort.

Clara is a retired business owner, who currently works in community gardening. She operates GardenerGigs.com, which aims to connect local gardeners with those who need them. Clara has a passion for eco-friendly gardening and offered to share some of her strategies and resource information with the DNCA.

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