If your power and water bills rise dramatically every summer, your garden might not be as green as it looks. In fact, although a beautiful garden can bring joy, it can also waste energy. Changing some of your habits can save significant amounts of power, water and money. Even if your garden doesn’t cost much to grow, you can still improve it and save energy with clever landscape design.
To help control your yard’s energy use, adopt responsible watering practices. We recommend watering during the coolest part of the day, usually the early morning. Set sprinklers to water only where it’s needed and prevent overflow onto the street or sidewalk. Collect rainwater in barrels, and then use it to water indoor and outdoor plants. Always check your hoses, faucets and plumbing for leaks, and water plants only when they need it, not every day.
Mowing and Equipment
In the hot summer months, raise your mower’s cutting height to leave grass longer. This helps shade the roots, reducing browning and weed growth as well as water needs. Maintain your mower and garden equipment regularly so they continue to function as efficiently as possible. We recommend using manual tools whenever possible to save energy and protect air quality. If you do need larger equipment, rent or borrow it to save money, energy and resources.
Pesticides, Weed Control and Soil Amendments
Save energy and labor in your garden by making nature do some of the work for you. Introduce ladybugs to eat aphids, plant marigolds to keep beetles away and keep weeds down with fast-growing plants. When you mow, leave the clippings on the lawn to act as fertilizer. Compost your kitchen and garden scraps, and use the resulting material as an enriching soil amendment; this can actually reduce the amount of water your plants require and help keep weeds at bay. Likewise, you can shred untreated wood and leaves into chips, and use them as mulch in your garden beds. This regulates soil temperature, helps retain moisture and adds nutrients to the soil.
Planting and Landscaping
We recommend greenscaping, or designing your yard for energy efficiency. Choose plants that flourish in your regional climate and microclimate, and reduce the amount of lawn and turf you need to maintain. Plant your garden in such a way that water runoff reaches all your plants without excessive waste. Consider planting trees that will shade and windbreak your house, reducing heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer.