Creating beautiful, earth friendly Green Gardens that reflect the nature of the local environment is made possible by using the principles of Sustainable Landscaping.
Green Gardens help to protect the environment one yard at a time. A Green Garden requires less water. These gardens are also less prone to insect and disease problems which reduces the need for the use of lawn and garden chemicals. This will lessen the risk of chemical run-off into our creeks and streams.
We all contribute to global warming when we do things like heat and cool our homes, drive our cars, and fly on airplanes. The good news is that there are many things each of us, as individuals, can do to reduce our carbon emissions.
Trees are "carbon sinks." They absorb carbon dioxide from the air and use it as their energy source, producing oxygen for us to breathe. Reforestation is the most cost-effective means of offsetting carbon emissions. A tree can remove and store up to 7,000 pounds of carbon over its lifetime. A tree that shades a house can reduce the energy required to run the air conditioner and save an additional 200 to 2,000 pounds of carbon over its lifetime.
- Consider reforesting your property by designing your landscape to include as many trees as possible. Plant trees in groups instead of singularly. This will not only increase the green canopy in your landscape, but it will also considerably add to its beauty. For example, think about how beautiful flowering trees look when they are blooming together.
- Trees should be planted at proper distances apart from each other to ensure optimum health and rate of growth. In general, shade trees should be planted 20-25 feet apart, flowering trees should be planted 12-15 feet apart and most evergreens should be planted 10-15 feet apart.
And Significantly Save In Energy Costs!
According to the USDA Forest Service, "Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and can save 20-50% in energy used for heating."
- You'll save money if your air conditioner draws air from a cool, shaded area. One large shade tree can reduce the surrounding air temperature by as much as 9° F. Plant a tree to shade the area around and over your air conditioner, but be sure to keep the air intake area clear of branches.
- More home energy is lost from windows than walls, so locate your trees to specifically shade windows. Plant a tree east or southeast of east-facing windows; south, southeast or southwest of south-facing windows; or west or southwest of west-facing windows.
- Trees can also save energy in cold weather. Planting a windbreak will lower the wind chill near your home, which can greatly lower heating costs. A windbreak is a single or multiple row of dense evergreen trees planted on the north and northwest side of your house (or the side with prevailing winter winds). The windbreak should be longer than the area to be protected. Extend the windbreak to the east side of the house, if space permits.
"A well-designed landscape not only can add beauty to your home but it also can reduce your heating and cooling costs. On average, landscaping for energy efficiency provides enough energy savings to return an initial investment in less than 8 years." - US Dept Energy
Steps to Creating a Green Garden
Analyze the site. This includes considering sun/shade, wind patterns, water availability, views, noise sources, soil type, and ground slope. Consider what you want the garden to do for you and what you want to do in the garden.
Choose the Right Plant for the Right Place
Select plants that will thrive in each location. For example, plant sun loving plants in areas that will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight. Then, group plants with similar cultivation requirements, such as planting plants with the same watering requirements together. Select native and well-adapted plants. Use proper plant spacing to minimize crowding and pest and disease problems. Also, select disease and pest resistant varieties.
Plant Trees to Create Shade
Design the garden to create more shade. This is an excellent way to save on water and cooling costs through the summer months.
Provide Wildlife Habitat
A Green Garden provides a habitat for wildlife. Design the garden to provide food, shelter and water. Use a wide variety of plants, especially those that will attract beneficial insects and native birds.
Manage Water Wisely
Most lawns are water and chemical dependent. Design the garden to reduce the lawn area. Group plants with similar watering requirements together. Use soaker hoses and tree gator bags whenever possible. Use rain barrels to harvest rainwater.
Mulch reduces watering, moisture evaporation and weeding. It also helps to moderate soil temperature and adds beneficial organic material to the soil.
Use Environmentally-Friendly Tools
Use hand tools rather than gas or electrically powered equipment whenever possible.