5 Eco-Friendly Backyard Upgrades

Reader Contribution by Katie Kuchta

Having a yard doesn’t always mean that your outdoor living space is considered to be green landscaping. There can be many parts of your yard that aren’t supporting the environment and can actually cost you more money in the long run. Consider these eco-friendly yard upgrades to do for your outdoor living space that will help to create a more sustainable environment.

Source: Flickr

1. Install a Rain Barrel

Installing a rain barrel is an easy choice when wanting to help support the local environment. Collect rain that comes during hot summer thunderstorms and automatically reduce your water bill every month. Put the rainwater to good use instead of allowing it to run off your property by collecting in a rain barrel. Use the rain that would normally go into the drains to water your garden plants and grass all summer long. Simply install a rain barrel system at the end of a gutter, or consider creating your own by reusing a large water container and a hose.

2. Reduce Concrete

As the normal choice for many outdoor hardscapes, concrete does offer a polished look but comes at a cost. Concrete is not very environmentally friendly and soaks up a lot of heat during the summer months. Consider removing some of the concrete in your yard and choose other more sustainable options like grass paving, wood planks, or mulch. Adding these options will not only beautify your space, but will also not crack and need expensive replacing like concrete.

3. Compost, Compost, Compost

An easy way to upgrade the look of your yard, without having to buy bags of fertilizer, is to create a compost pile. These great additions to natural yard care take the things that you would normally throw away, like grass clippings and dead leaves, and instead uses heat and some help from worms to create a nutritious and natural fertilizer for your yard. Consider choosing some composting systems that are widely available or build your own using some wood and leftover materials. Having a compost pile is a sustainable option in that is reuses natural parts of your yard to create good additions for future plants.

4. Upgrade to Native

Choosing native plants that naturally thrive in your region is an upgrade that will help to sustain the local environment, as well as provide natural beauty. Xeriscaping is a form of gardening that takes into consideration plants that are naturally part of the local environment. These plants usually don’t need a lot of extra watering and are made for the conditions that already exist in your neighborhood. Using native plants provides interest and is an economical option for saving water use as well as maintenance.

5. Add Bugs Instead of Chemicals

Not all bugs are bad for your garden. There are many types of bugs that are essential to sustaining a healthy garden as well as keeping pests at bay. Consider tossing the chemicals that you would normally use to deter critters and encourage some natural pest defenders to stick around. Ladybugs are a great addition to any garden and are a natural predator to pests that can quickly wipe out a garden. Other benefits of not spraying plants with chemicals are that it allows natural bugs, like grasshoppers and spiders, to stay in your garden to ward off pests.

There are plenty of ways to make your yard more eco-friendly. Choosing to install sustainable options like rain barrels, mulch instead of concrete, and native plants can all help to support the environment. Consider making your garden attractive to bugs that will help to deter pests as well as create a compost pile for easy fertilizer. All of these options are great when trying to make your yard more beneficial to the environment.