The outside of your home also consumes energy—and often has the potential to harbor harmful chemicals. Here are some ways you can keep the outside of your home as healthy as the inside:
Be water wise: Many people overwater their lawn and garden. An irrigation controller can read the weather and adjust the water level accordingly. Harvesting rain water with a rain barrel and then reusing it in the lawn is a great way to conserve water and get your plants the nutrients they need.
Plant native plants. They have evolved within the local weather and soil conditions, so they require less water once established, and generally are more disease-resistant than hybridized plants.
Mowing: If you have a lawn, get some exercise and save the air quality (and your neighbor’s sanity!) by using a push mower. Leave the cuttings on the lawn to naturally compost and add nutrients.
Homemade pest control: Instead of using pest control products that can contain an abundance of harmful chemicals, repel bugs and weeds with simple, homemade repellants, such as hot peppers and water. Sprinkling extra grass seed on a bare spot of lawn can get rid of unwanted plants.
Organic compost: Using organic compost instead of fertilizer means you won’t be overexposing your plants to all their nutrients at once—over-fertilizing, especially with synthetic fertilizer, can contribute to algae bloom. A worm bin also is a great way to break down organic matter that later can be used for compost; local and city governments often sponsor or provide these at low cost.