Who wants to inhale pesticides when you flip burgers in the backyard? Especially when creating an eco-friendly garden is fairly easy.
Step 1: Plant native vegetation Plant whatever flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs are native to you area (your library or local gardening club can help). Because they have adapted to your area’s climate and soil, they will require less care—meaning fewer pesticides and fertilizers.
TIP: Save water by including drought-resistant perennials in your landscaping. Bonus: this can cut your water bill by 50%.
Step 2: Plant trees strategically Plant trees strategically so that they provide shade for your home. They’ll cut down on the need for air-conditioning, plus saving energy and money.
TIP: Avoid planting trees on the south side of your home. During the winter months you’ll get more sunlight—and lower heating bills.
Step 3: Make fertilizer Make your own compost by saving your fruit and vegetable peelings, egg shells, and coffee grounds; mixing them with equal parts dried leaves or grass clippings; storing in a closed, ventilated container; adding some soil; and turning on a regular basis.
TIP: If you must use commercial fertilizer, look for one that is phosphorus free.
Step 4: Use your own power Pushing your lawnmower not only helps the environment (gas-powered mowers emit 93 times more air pollution per gallon than a new car!)—it also burns a whopping 480 calories an hour. Dump the leaf-blower and expend another 290 calories an hour raking leaves.
TIP: Leave the grass cuttings on the lawn to recycle nutrients.
Step 5: Give up charcoal If you’re still barbecuing with charcoal, you’re not doing your lungs or Mother Earth any good. Natural gas is the least polluting way to fire up the grill.
Step 6: Enjoy Throw a few shrimp on the barbie and enjoy your lush—and healthy—oasis!
FACT: Yard work is better than bicycling, aerobics, dancing, and weight training for maintaining healthy bone mass.