Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green Outdoors and in the Garden

This week's Sustainable Saturday is the fifth part in the Series Getting to Green.  This Series will focus on easy, cost-effective ways to implement green ideas or concepts throughout your home and life. 

10 Tips for Getting to Green Outdoors and in the Garden

1.   Start a Compost Pile.  We put all of our fruit and vegetable waste, coffee grounds, coffee filters, egg shells, dryer lint, dryer sheets (Seventh Generation), leaves and select other yard waste in our compost. We have built a outside compost bin using wood from recycled pallets. We use this compost to fertilize our garden and lawn. 

2.   Install a Rain Barrel A rain barrel is essentially a large tank with a spigot that sits under your home’s gutter downspout to harvest rainwater from your roof. You can make one for just a few dollars, or you can purchase a basic model for around $50 to $100.  While rainwater may not always be safe to drink, it can be used for a variety of other applications—from watering your lawn and flower beds to washing cars or driveways.

3.   Plant a Garden.  Read the entire 2010 Saving Family Green Gardening with Children Series:

Gardening with Children - Getting Started
Gardening with Children - Garden Update
Gardening with Children - Garden Planning Tools
Gardening with Children - Composting Basics
Gardening with Children - Rain Barrels
Gardening with Children - Raised Garden Beds
Gardening with Children - Organic Pest Control
Gardening with Children - Video Blog! 
Gardening with Children - The Finale

4.   Consider Edible Landscaping.  This can be as simple as incorporating a few traditional garden plants into your landscape beds or as complex as an entire landscaping plan centered on the idea of creating a Backyard (or Frontyard) Homestead.  The Backyard Homestead is an excellent resource for how to implement edible landscaping. has a list of 18 Beautiful Edible Landscaping Plants or check out Edible Landscaping with Charlie Nardozzi (National Gardening Association)

5.   Consider Native Plants.  Several resources to search for Native Plants that are specific to your locale:  PlantNative or Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center NPIN:  Native Plant Database.

6.   Install a Rain Garden.  A rain garden is a planted depression that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas the opportunity to be absorbed.  You can check out Rain Gardens:  A how-to guide for homeowners.

7.   Implement Environmentally Friendly Lawn Care.  There are local lawn care companies who specialize in environmentally friendly lawn care.  We have used Good Nature Organic Lawn Care (Columbus, OH) and recommend their services. 

8.   Consider Environmentally Friendly Lawn Maintenance by ditching your gas powered lawn mower for a Reel Mower.  You can learn more here. 

9.   Consider Environmentally Friendly Landscape Maintenance by ditching your electric powered hedge trimmers and reach for a pair of pruning or trimming shears.

10. Consider Envirnomentally Friendly Leaf Maintenance.  Emissions from gasoline-powered grounds-keeping equipment in general are a source of air pollution.  In the United States, US emission standards prescribe maximum emissions from small engines.

In addition to adverse health effects of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, and particulates generated by the gasoline-powered engines, leaf blowers pose problems related to significant amounts of dust that is introduced into the air by the powerful flow of air. Dust clouds caused by leaf blowers contain potentially harmful substances such as pesticides, mold, and animal fecal matter that may cause irritation, allergies, and disease.

You can check out Saving Family Green's post The Leaf Blower vs. The Rake.

You can read the entire Getting to Green series here:   

Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green in the Kitchen 
Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green in the Bedroom
Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green in the Living Areas (Living/ Dining/ Family/ Office)
Sustainable Saturday - 10 Tips for Getting to Green in the Bathroom

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