We spend a lot of time helping Newtonians go green inside their homes, but all this month we want to tell you how you can go green outside – in your yard. Newton is The Garden City, and there is so much we can do to make our yards more sustainable. Even if you don’t have a yard, there is still a lot you can do in your community to make our green spaces more sustainable.
First, let’s talk about grass. Many of us probably feel the pressure to maintain perfectly manicured, green lawns. To do this can be water intensive, require chemicals, and create a sterile environment for insects and other pollinators. This May and beyond, think about doing some of the following:
- Leave your grass to grow in May and leave your leaves in fall. This movement from the U.K. is sweeping the nation (read more here). The initiative supports pollinators like bees, reduces lawn inputs, and can improve the health of your lawn. Also, “leave the leaves” this fall to create valuable habitat for overwintering insects and add nutrients to your lawn and soil. Less work and better for your yard.
- Shrink your lawn. Consider planting more trees, shrubs and perennial plants in your yard and reduce the size of your lawn. It will save you time, money, and energy, all while helping the environment.
- Go chemical free. Try to reduce or eliminate the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides by using more natural methods of pest and weed control (see here). Use organic fertilizer and have a soil test done to determine what nutrients your soil actually needs. Chemicals used in our yards contaminate the groundwater, and can alter natural ecosystems.
- Go human powered. A push mower and rake will give you a healthy workout while maintaining your lawn. No weights needed! If this isn’t feasible, go electric with an electric lawn mower and electric leaf blower to lessen the climate impact of your yard. A gas powered mower that is run for one hour has the same carbon footprint as a 100-mile car trip. (Find a lawn care provider who abides by Newton’s Leaf Blower Ordinance or will rake.)
Be sure to follow along each week in our e-newsletter and on social media for more ways to green your yard, and tune in on Thursday, May 26 for a special webinar with Doug Tallamy, author of Nature’s Last Hope and Bringing Nature Home. Register here.