Sustainable gardening has lasting benefits for present and future

Sustainability is a concept that can be applied to many facets of life, and gardening is no exception.

Sustainable gardening involves preserving and protecting resources, which can benefit us both in the present and in the future.

Here are ways green thumbers can embrace sustainability in their gardens.

n Water more effectively. When designing an irrigation plan for your lawn and garden, use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to conserve water. If you must use sprinklers, make sure they aren’t shooting water too high, as wind can blow the water away from the yard where it belongs, and be sure to position them so no water is landing on sidewalks, the driveway or the street.

n Add mulch to flower and plant beds. Mulch is perhaps best known for helping flower and plant beds retain moisture, but mulch also prevents the growth of weeds.

Preventing weed growth means your water is going to plants and flowers and not to greedy, unsightly weeds. Preventing weed growth also reduces your use of potentially harmful pesticides.

n Develop a compost pile. Compost consists of decayed organic material, and it can be used as fertilizer. Gardeners can make their own compost at home, providing valuable minerals and nutrients for their lawns, without having to rely on store-bought amendments that must be produced, packaged and transported to your local lawn and garden center.

n Choose native plants. A garden filled with exotic plants and flowers may be stunning, but unless those plants are native to where you live, that beauty is coming at a steep price.

When choosing plants for your garden, choose native plants that are fully capable of thriving in your local climate. Non-native plants are likely to need excessive watering and other less sustainable attention that native plants do not need.

n Plant with a plan. When planting trees around your property, plant them in locations that can reduce your reliance on air conditioning in the warmer months. Plant a tree in a place where it will help to shade common areas inside your home so such rooms are comfortable without the air conditioner cranking all day long.

You can go a step further and plant deciduous trees that will shed their leaves when the weather gets cold, ensuring that sunlight can get in and warm the house in the winter.

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