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A Quick Guide to Eco-Friendly Landscaping (2024)

Although designing your outdoor landscape can be fun, you must, first, do exhaustive research and have a strategic plan. Only after doing this will your landscape not only be appealing to the eye, affordable, and functional but also eco-friendly.

Choosing to care for the environment is a lifestyle decision that helps make the world a better place to live now and for future generations.

As an environmentally savvy homeowner, you can embrace eco-friendly approaches to care for your landscape by reducing or avoiding non-renewable resources. If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to have a lush and attractive lawn while still being eco-friendly, continue reading!

8 Tips for Successful, Sustainable and Eco-friendly Landscaping

1. Use Mulch 

Adding mulch is an eco-friendly landscaping approach you can follow to keep your landscape healthy and beautiful. If you’re unfamiliar with how to add mulch to your lawn, worry not because you can hire a professional to do it and save yourself the trouble. As a result, your lawn will have an all-natural ground cover that does a great job acting as a natural barrier against weeds. It also helps to reduce the spread of soil-borne pathogens and minimize moisture loss to create a conducive environment for plant growth.

Mulch can be made from many organic materials, such as leaves, wood chips, sawdust, grass clippings, and compost. All these materials are natural and don’t contain harmful chemicals that could harm the environment.

Another advantage of mulch is that it helps maintain soil health by allowing water to percolate through the soil instead of washing off the surface and into storm drains or municipal sewer systems. It’s advisable you use two to three inches of organic mulch that’s uniformly spread around the plant. After every year, you should add another two inches of organic mulch. 

Eco-friendly Landscape - Mulch wood chips around flowers 

2. Use Plants Native to Your Area 

Another effective landscaping tip is to only grow native plants in your garden. Doing this is necessary because plants native to your area are often more resistant to pests and diseases than non-native ones. Planting indigenous plants is a great way to create a beautiful, functional, eco-friendly landscape because they’re better suited to handle pests, the local climate, and diseases as they grow. This saves you from buying pesticides and other chemicals, which only cause harm to your yard’s ecosystem. 

Native plants often have flowers that attract beneficial insects, like bees and butterflies. Such insects feed on pollen from the flowers of these plants, which means less work for you. They also require less water and fertilizers because they can thrive best in the natural environment. This is great if you live where there are harsh weather conditions, where non-native plants would struggle to survive without a lot of care. 

3. Incorporate Hardscapes

Another handy addition to your lawn for it to appear welcoming and appealing is hardscapes. The addition of hardscapes will also help safeguard your lawn’s terrain from soil erosion. As a result, this ends up causing environmental degradation of your landscape and, eventually, ruining the sustainability of vegetation growing there.

Luckily, eco-friendly landscaping also uses hardscapes, which can prevent such things from happening. This way, your lawn will remain intact for a longer duration, even when exposed to severe natural occurrences or extreme weather conditions. 

Take a look at this great video by Gardening Australia for more:


4. Amend the Soil 

While native plants have adapted to growing in the local environment, they still need soil that’s in excellent condition for them to grow. This is why you must make a routine habit of amending the soil. This will help you create a healthy landscape where the soil provides your healthy plants, be it flowers, shrubs, or trees, with the much-needed nutrients. 

Some essential nutrients include potassium, which is critical in boosting the plant’s overall health. In addition, phosphorous promotes root growth, while nitrogen helps in the growth of the stems and leaves. You should also use animal- and plant-based organic fertilizers and compost when amending the soil, helping boost the soil’s condition and texture. 

5. Start Composting  

If you want most of the waste from your yard to end up being used productively, there’s no better way of realizing this goal than through composting. Creating a compost pile is a simple and free way you can further enhance the quality and health of your lawn’s landscape. Compost is great for:

  • Creating beneficial fungi and bacteria 
  • Minimizing the need to use chemical fertilizers 
  • Improving soil to make it better fight pests and diseases
  • Retaining moisture
  • Controlling erosion   

You can mix household and garden waste into your compost, including eggshells, weeds, cardboard, newspapers, vegetable scraps, and wood shavings. Make sure to place the compost pile far away from your home because it might produce a foul odor, especially from the leftover food.

Using natural nutrients from compost instead of artificial/chemical fertilizers is one of the simplest and most cost-effective methods for eco-friendly landscaping.

Eco-friendly Landscaping - Compost and vegetable kitchen scarps, eggshells etc.

6. Install An Effective Irrigation System

Your plants need water to survive. Therefore, you need to water them adequately to ensure they get the water needed to survive, which is why you need to install an irrigation system. However, you shouldn’t just get any random irrigation system; you should install one that effectively delivers the necessary amount of water to the plants. This helps ensure the plants can continuously get enough water while improving soil quality and creating an eco-friendly landscape. 

An effective irrigation system is also critical when designing an eco-friendly landscape as it prevents water wastage. This system does this by making sure only the required amount of water gets used. This further helps you maintain your garden’s cleanliness, hence, improving your landscape’s overall eco-friendliness. 

Irrigation systems come with different levels of efficiency, ranging from drip systems to sprinklers. The eco-friendly option is the drip system, which ensures water doesn’t get wasted as it slowly drips out of the pipes. In contrast, the sprinkler system sprays water in large amounts all at once, which results in wastage. 

If you install an ineffective irrigation system, you’ll end up with very dry soil, which will cause your plants to wilt. This will, subsequently, affect the health and growth of your plants and make them susceptible to diseases like root rot and fungal attacks.

7. Plant Ground Cover 

Another eco-friendly idea to follow to ensure your landscape is eco-friendly is to plant ground cover rather than grass due to the unique advantages it offers, and these include:

  • No need for extra watering
  • Little to no mowing 
  • No need to use herbicides or pesticides 

Examples of ideal ground cover include clover, which ensures your lawn remains green even during hot summer months. Clover produces a nice smell during drought and does an excellent job of preventing soil compaction. It also feels cushiony and soft under your feet, and it offers bees a habitat, further boosting your lawn’s eco-friendliness. 

Alternatively, you can plant moss that does equally well during hot weather and feels great under bare feet. Creeping perennial plants can also be ideal groundcover as they feel soft under your feet, require little maintenance, and have a great smell.  

Eco-friendly Landscaping - Clover groundcover from above

8. Harvest Rainwater 

An effective and practical way of ensuring your landscape is always green is by harvesting rainwater. Subsequently, you can use the rainwater to water your vegetables, plants, and flowers, which helps minimize water wastage in your household. And, doing this is easy as you simply need to invest in gutters that collect water running from the roof after it rains. This also ensures polluted water doesn’t find its way into your water supply, compromising your wellbeing and that of your loved ones. 

A great way to collect the rainwater is by using a rain barrel, and you can later use it to irrigate your garden or plants. You can buy one at an affordable price and install it conveniently near your house. Alternatively, you can install rain chains or cisterns to help harvest rainwater and boost your water footprint.

Final Thoughts on Eco-friendly Landscaping

You’re spoilt for choices as to the many ways you can make your garden more sustainable with eco-friendly landscaping, as well as play your part in safeguarding the world from increased environmental degradation.

However, you can’t know where to start if you’re unfamiliar with how to look after your landscape sustainably. This article aims to help you realize your dream of having a landscape that doesn’t have any negative environmental impacts. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What's The Best Time Of Year For Landscaping? 

You can work on your lawn's landscape at any time of the year and should only stop during severe weather conditions, such as flooding, extreme heat, or deep snow. Therefore, you should do landscaping when it's most convenient for you, and this, for most homeowners, is during early spring, winter, and autumn. Check out the full guide for more.

How Often Should You Water Your Lawn?

There's no recommended frequency for watering your lawn because this usually depends on two factors: the types of plants you have and the time of year. Plants require water two to three times each day during the summer, and trees need to be watered weekly. You should also consider the season—it's advised to water one to two inches of water each week during cooler months and two to three inches per week during hot summer months. Read the full guide for more eco-friendly landscaping tips.

Do You Need An Irrigation System? 

Irrigations aren't a must-have for you to best maintain the health of the plants on your lawn. However, it's advised you get one if you don't want to do the work of watering your yard manually. And, you don't need to spend a huge sum of money on an irrigation system since the hose and sprinkler system can still do an excellent job. Check out the full guide for more on irrigation systems.


Gardenista: Hardscape 101: Design Guides

National Park Service: Gardening for Wildlife with Native Plants

ScienceDirect: Organic Fertilizer

WikiHow: How to Install a Drip Irrigation System

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