It is the time of year when a lot of people spend their weekends and evenings outside enjoying the weather and outdoors. In recent years there has been a big push towards keeping the lawns and gardens more naturally beautiful and finally less reliance on chemical shortcuts for weed and pest control.
It seems simple that if our children and pets are rolling and playing in the grass outside that we would not want to cover them with chemicals and ingredients from boxes that have a skull and crossbones prominently displayed on the package to warn us how toxic it is, but it has taken some time to make that connection.
Naturally Beautiful Grass
Keeping lawns beautiful is a national pastime that takes a heavy toll on the environment. The average lawn receives 10x more fertilizer annually per acre than an agricultural field and a lawnmower typically produces 10-12 times more carbon emissions than an automobile. Things we think about in other areas of our life tend to be quickly forgotten when it comes to having a “green” lawn.
There are many natural lawn fertilizers available if you look past the first row of products at your home and garden store that are both effective and safe for the environment. Look for things rated as organic and without a warning label that covers ½ the bag. Basically anything that has “poison” in bold letters prominently displayed on it should be avoided.
Much of the need to fertilize lawns is caused by our own care methods. Use a mulching mower to finely chop the grass and deposit instead of bagging and throwing away the grass clippings. Bagging grass clippings is effectively harvesting the grass every week so of course this quickly depletes the soil and requires more fertilization.
Aeration of the lawn and dethatching are annual events that will do far more for the average lawn than multiple bags of chemicals. As it only needs to be done once a year or so hiring a service or renting the machine to do it from the DIY store is more practical than purchasing the equipment.
Those Beautiful Ponds and Water Features
The use of small garden ponds and water features has become a norm for the well-tended lawn or garden. The gentle sound of falling water relaxes and provides a beautiful accent. If you do not use harsh chemicals to keep the water clean then it provides a natural spot for birds and butterflies to gather around and enjoy your garden and flowers with you.
Using natural biological methods of filtration and an appropriate pond liner to prevent wasted water and underwater plant growth, will keep the pond as a clean healthy addition. Try natural algae control of barley straw to keep the water a pleasant colour and add some lilies or water plants to naturally clean the excess nitrogen released by organic debris in the water. Adding some fish to the water is both a beautiful addition and prevents the pond from becoming a breeding ground for insects in a natural way.