Maintaining a lawn is a job which takes a lot of effort and care. If you are concerned about the environment, you can do that in a sustainable manner, using natural methods and sustainable practices to make the best use of the natural resources at your disposal. The environment and your health will improve when you stop using harmful chemicals and pesticides. You can create a beautiful garden and landscape it in a way that uses less water and is cost efficient, as well as truly ‘green’. Here are a few tips using which you can maintain your lawn in a sustainable manner:
Get to know your fertilizer
If you want an organic, healthy lawn, you must learn about your soil. Organisms found in the soil require the same things that we do – air, food, water etc. When you feed the soil with natural, organic fertiliser rather than chemical fertiliser, you are actually feeding the organisms in the soil which support the growth of grass and plants. Chemical fertilisers are good only for plants, but they cause a lot of harm to the environment, as they end up in waterways such as rivers, lakes and oceans. Growing grass in your lawn in a natural way makes it more disease-resistant, drought-tolerant and requires very little maintenance.
Test the soil before buying nutrients
Instead of guessing the percentage of Phosphorus (P), Nitrogen (N) and Potassium (K) and other nutrients like sulphur, lime etc, you should get the soil tested, or do it yourself with the help of DIY soil testing kits, which are available at a very cheap price. Adding the correct proportion will make your lawn healthy, and adding excess can even kill the grass as well as other plants in your garden.
Use compost to fertilize the lawn
You can make compost at home easily with your yard and kitchen waste. Or else buy it from nurseries or from friends who make a big quantity of it.
Be cautious before spreading lime on the lawn
Most soils in the Western world have a pH which is above 7.0. Ideal lawn soil requires a 7 to 1 ratio of calcium and magnesium. And in dolomitic limestone, the ratio is 3 to 2, and the high calcium content actually promotes weed growth.
Select the right kind of grass
There is a huge variety of tall and short grasses that you can choose from. Some varieties prefer the sun whereas some can tolerate shade. Some grasses can thrive in foot traffic, and others which are called cultivars, resist disease and grow slowly, thus reducing mowing and watering needs for your lawn. Lawn mowers contribute a substantial 10% to air pollution in America, and the less you use them the better.
Selecting the right grass depends on the type of garden you have, and the time you can spare for its proper care.
Some sustainable practices which you could incorporate into the lawn
Store the rain water for future use from downspouts. You can use this stored water to irrigate your lawn.
Start a compost bin
Recycle food scraps, fruit and vegetable peels, leaves, grass clippings etc to produce your own organic fertilizer.
Use solar panels
To light up your garden/lawn, use solar panels. The best place to put solar panels in your garden is considered to be the south facing portion of your home.
Use plants to control your microclimate
Your home temperature can be controlled by planting the right trees. Deciduous trees planted on the southern side of the home will give you shade in summertime, thus reducing the need for air conditioners. In winter, they will let the sun hit the walls of the home to make it warm. Evergreen trees can deflect cold winds in winter and reduce your energy costs.
Use plants native to your area
By planting herbs, grass and plants that are native, you will have less maintenance issues. Your lawn/garden will require less use of natural resources, such as water.
Planting a flower border in your lawn will help in sustaining the environment by increasing the crucial bee population that help in natural pollination. Having a sustainable lawn is a pleasant addition to your home and a wonderful way to go green.