It’s a brand new year, which means you can start with a clean slate. Arguably, there’s no way to lead a cleaner lifestyle than to reduce your carbon footprint. Going green is now much more than a passing trend; it’s a vital way of living that countless people have fully embraced. It’s doesn’t have to be difficult, either; switching to a high-efficiency air conditioner could allow you to use 20% to 50% less energy in your home, for example. And if you want to generate your own energy to run your HVAC system? You can easily install some solar panels, as their cost has dropped by more than 60% since 2010.
It’s no surprise that, while the interior design industry already generates $10 billion in revenue each year, more homeowners want greener upgrades. But while those changes can make it easier to reduce your environmental impact inside your home, there are actually some steps you can take to do the same outside your home. Eco-friendly landscaping and gardening can allow you to improve the state of the planet — while also improving the look of your property.
Although more Americans are renting than ever before — and the percentage of renters with renters insurance rose from 29% to 41% between 2011 to 2016 — homeowners have a leg up when it comes to outdoor improvements. Not only do they have the freedom to customize their landscaping, but they can also add value to their property with these upgrades. In fact, landscaping can add as much as 14% to the resale value of your home. And if you landscape with eco-friendly principles in mind, you can appeal to future buyers who might be willing to pay more for a sustainable property.
It’s a trend being observed on a national scale. According to a recent study conducted by horticulturalists at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, gardeners are focused on eco-conscious gardening practices in 2020. In particular, there’s an increased interest in native and edible plants, as well as landscaping for natural disasters and wildlife support.
“More and more folks are wanting to think about sustainability,” explained Mark Tancig, an agent for the university, in a statement. “They’re wanting to plant things that don’t require as much water or fertilizer. Plants that resist disease and insects. Plants that provide for wildlife use and need less maintenance and input. That not only saves money but it looks good, too. It’s restorative to the environment.”
Want some eco-friendly gardening and landscaping ideas you can implement in the coming months? Add some pollinator-friendly plants, such as bee balm and delphinium, to attract those buzzing insects and help them to thrive. You can also utilize recyclable or eco-friendly materials for your plantings. By turning an old bathtub into a flower bed or using reclaimed bricks for your garden paths, you can reduce waste and turn your hard into something truly special.
Don’t forget to conserve water as much as possible. Rain gardens and rainwater collection barrels can do the trick, as can installing downpipe butts and opting for traditional hose watering in lieu of a sprinkler system. Of course, you should also choose natural, non-toxic pest control methods to support beneficial wildlife in the area. And if you really want to go the extra mile to reduce your food waste and improve your garden soil, you might consider creating a compost pile.
Of course, while DIY landscaping can provide you with total control over the outcome, many professional landscapers are meeting client demands by switching to greener practices and encouraging the adoption of designs that will protect the planet. Whether you have goals to make your yard look more beautiful or you simply want to do your part to support your local ecosystem, sustainable landscaping can be a relatively easy way to keep your garden at its peak.