Spring is the season to head outdoors and work in the garden. As you are adding new plants to your yard, think about how you can choose certain species that best suit your region’s climate or microclimate.
Then try new ways to conserve water and don’t overwater plants more than they like or need. You can also play with xeriscaping and greenscaping, planning, design and maintenance to be more energy efficient.
Even if you already have a green thumb, you can always garden greener. Here are some of the best green gardening tips for energy efficiency and water conservation.
Ways to Water
To reduce water waste, research the amount of water that your plants actually need. Every plant adheres to a different watering preference and schedule. Also take into account the amount of water that will evaporate from the soil.
This is called Evapotranspiration or Et Rate, and knowing this rate of evaporation will help you properly plan your irrigation practice. With this in mind, also consider what time of day you will water and irrigate. Evaporation is lower in the morning, and higher in mid-afternoon, for example.
Adding mulch to your flower beds is another way that helps to create a water efficient garden. By blocking the sun, mulching assists in keeping the temperature of the soil and evaporation rates low.
Watering with the needs of the Earth and your plants in mind will save you money while also contributing to healthier landscaping and a more efficient planet.
How Mowing Can Conserve Water
Unlike with our beloved pets, summer is not the time to clip the extra length off your lawn. This may seem counterintuitive, but in the hotter months leave your grass longer!
The length offers shade to the roots of the grass, and what living thing doesn’t need shade in the summer? The extra length will provide some other perks as well, like reducing weed growth and that unfortunate browning from the heat.
To be extra green about your spring and summer gardening, save energy by maintaining your mower and using manual gardening tools and equipment whenever logical.
Landscape for Energy Efficiency
The U.S. Dept. of Energy recommends that you design your yard with energy efficiency and the local conditions in mind. When you design your yard for energy efficiency this is known as greenscaping.
Xeriscaping is a term used to describe dry, low-irrigation landscaping. It’s a good idea to use xeriscaping techniques around your HVAC unit. This prevents things like grass clippings, twigs, and leaves from clogging your condenser unit.
Choosing regional plants and planning your landscaping around your location’s microclimate will create an energy efficient outdoor space that is both beautiful and regionally practical.
Planting shade trees outdoors for example can make a huge difference when it comes to your comfort indoors. Shade trees block the sun from overheating the home, while also shielding it from the wind. Shade trees alone can reduce your heating and cooling costs by significant rates.
Put Xeriscaping into motion in your own green gardening practices! According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, “Xeriscaping is a systematic method of promoting water conservation in landscaped areas… It’s principles can be used in any region to help conserve water.”
Here are 7 green xeriscaping tips from Energy.gov:
Planning and design. Provides direction and guidance, mapping your water and energy conservation strategies, both of which will be dependent upon your regional climate and microclimate.
Selecting and zoning plants appropriately. Bases your plant selections and locations on those that will flourish in your regional climate and microclimate. Always group plants with similar water needs together.
Limiting turf areas. Reduces the use of bluegrass turf, which usually requires a lot of supplemental watering. Consider substituting a turf grass that uses less water than bluegrass.
Improving the soil. Enables soil to better absorb water and to encourage deeper roots.
Irrigating efficiently. Encourages using the irrigation method that waters plants in each area most efficiently.
Using mulches. Keeps plant roots cool, minimizes evaporation, prevents soil from crusting, and reduces weed growth.
Maintaining the landscape. Keeps plants healthy through weeding, pruning, fertilizing, and controlling pests.
For more information about professional landscape design and how this can save you money on your heating and cooling bills, speak with the specialists at OnTime Service.