How To Build Eco Friendly Backyards? ​

colorful spring garden

Changing behavior is often difficult. Perhaps you’ve worked hard to achieve the perfect lawn, so replacing it with a meadow or prairie might not sound appealing. 

However, you can build an eco-friendly backyard by combining the principles of natural landscaping with those of xeriscaping while maintaining an aesthetic similar to the traditional lawn. Here are a few tips to help you in your quest:

1. Choose Native Flora

Native plants are essential for the biodiversity. Source of food and shelter for insects, butterflies, and small mammals; they are also acclimated to your local conditions and need minimal maintenance. Because they usually require no pesticides and herbicides, native plants, including wildflowers, also help you create a safer landscape for your family.

2. Replace Turf With Ground Covers

Turfgrass is a staple for well-maintained, manicured lawns, but there are many alternatives that maintain the well-manicured aesthetics while reducing water waste and carbon footprint. Depending on where you live, you can opt for evergreen moss, clover, creeping perennials, and even ornamental grasses if your lawn doesn’t have a functional purpose.

3. Reduce Mowing

If you really don’t want to give up the turf, at least limit your mowing sessions. Leave the grass grow taller, as taller blades will retain more water. You should also turn grass clippings into mulch or add them to the compost pile instead of discarding.

4. Harvest Rainwater

Let the xeriscaping principles inspire you and reduce city water consumption by harvesting rainwater. You can use it to water your landscape as well as the vegetable garden. There are many solutions, such as harvesting in rainwater barrels, cisterns, or rain chains. Regardless of which harvesting method you choose, this practice will help you reduce your water footprint and save some cash on your bill.

5. Eliminate the Use of Chemicals

Standard lawn care involves using large amounts of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. However, these substances don’t add any nutrients to the soil. An organic fertilizer, such as compost or manure enrich the soil with important nutrients that will make your plants grow stronger and more vigorous. Regarding pests control, native plants attract dozens of insects and birds that usually feed on aphids, scale, and other organisms that may attack your plants.

6. Use Permeable Paving

Besides harvesting rainwater, you can also use permeable paving instead of the traditional type. Permeable walkways and driveways drain rainwater directly into the soil, minimizing watering even more. In areas known for heavy rains, they also help prevent localized floods which often affect the wildlife.

7. Increase Biodiversity

Xeriscaping or natural landscaping is a huge first step towards creating an eco-friendly backyard, but you can increase biodiversity even more by providing insects, butterflies, and birds with the right shelter. Nest boxes, feeders, and a birdbath are just some elements that can make your backyard more fun to look at and more wildlife-friendly.

8. Use Wood Composite Lumber

In an eco-friendly backyard, the choice of materials is as important as the choice of the plants. If you want to build a deck or wooden walkway, use wood composite lumber instead of standard lumber. The former is made from recycled plastic and reclaimed lumber, is eco-friendly, it looks just as good as the real thing, and it will last longer.

9. Choose Local Materials

If you really can’t give up real wood, at least choose wooden products and materials sourced locally. This will help reduce the carbon footprint and will also support local businesses. Just make sure all wood comes from sustainable sources.

10. Recycle and Reuse

Eco friendly backyards go hand in hand with recycled and reused objects and materials. For instance, you can use an old chest of drawers to create original planters or upscale your garden furniture with a fresh coat of paint instead of replacing it altogether. Pavers made from recycled concrete, as well as pots and fencing made from recycled wood and plastic, are environmental-savvy choices that will look amazing into your sustainable backyard.

Down To You

Eco friendly backyards come with a wealth of benefits. They can help us reduce the greenhouse gases footprint, save resources, promote biodiversity, and are ultimately healthier. An eco-friendly backyard also has an educational value and is more fun for the kids to play into. 

From xeriscaping that allows the incorporation of a lawn into the landscape to natural landscaping and habitat gardening, you have plenty of options to choose from. 

Whether you decide to embrace change or stick to the traditional lawn is down to you; remember, though, that our offspring’s future is in our hands, and an eco-friendly backyard could be a good start to shaping it brighter.