Using Native Plants in Your Natural Landscaping Design

Using Native Plants in Your Natural Landscaping Design

There really are no rules, rhyme, or reason when it comes to choosing your natural landscape design. You can utilize natural landscaping in all or part of your backyard or even front yard design. Be aware, however, that once you start utilizing natural landscaping in your design for your home, you may never go back to traditional planting. Natural landscaping incorporates more vegetation, native plants, wetland, and prairie systems to highlight the quality of water-filled areas.

What Are Native Plants?

Native Plants are plants that are typically grown naturally in their particular region and have been there for hundreds, perhaps, thousands of years. Native plants thrive in their particular climate and soil.

Native Plants Have Many Benefits including:

Aesthetics Native plants offer many benefits not only to homeowners, but also to business owners, organizations, groups, and even golf courses. There is no better way to attract new customers than to be a business owner or golf course that is environmentally conscious, friendly, and aware. Playing golf on a golf course that utilizes native plants, vegetation, and tall grasses also enhances the atmosphere for the players.

Environmental Utilizing native plants instead of brick and mortar, concrete slabs, and asphalt helps the environment tremendously. These items are not as porous and water receptive as native plants. Native plants can aid in the reduction of storm water runoff. Communities that live along bodies of water that has mostly concrete surrounding them are negatively affected by flood and overflow from storms. Having fewer floods means also having less exposure to mosquitoes and other bugs that flourish near water.

Curb appeal For curb appeal, native plants have a tremendous impact, especially on resale value. For homeowners wishing to sell, the impact of native plants in their front yard or in their back yard alongside a small stream has great resale value. For business owners, native plants give the impression of an organization that is down to earth at its core and is appealing to draw new business or customers into it.

Other wildlife Native plants are imperative to the existence of other wildlife such as birds. Berries on certain shrubs help to maintain the ecosystem, which is vital to birdlife.

Insects Without native plants, insects could not thrive. Insects make many people’s skin crawl; however, insects are a necessary part of our ecosystem as they provide food and nourishment for other wildlife. Using native plants in your landscaping design not only benefits the homeowner or business owner, but is also beneficial to the ecosystem and all its critters.

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13 Ways You Can Save The Environment

13 Ways You Can Save The Environment

It’s official, lists of 10 are beyond cliche. And lists of 11, once a refreshing twist, are now even more banal than the lists of 10 they sought to avoid. So, in a weak attempt at originality, today I present you with my baker’s dozen list of ways to save energy and the environment!

 

1. Sweep It. Don’t Spray It. 

Limit, as much as possible, the use of water. Of course water is not that expensive (at least for now); but saving water saves energy and a valuable resource as well. When cleaning the driveway, the deck or patio, using a broom instead of a hose would save several hundreds of gallons of water a year. Now imagine your entire neighborhood doing it that way. We could save a ton of water (1 ton= 239.65 gallons, which is actually far less than what would be saved).

2. Push It Good. Push It Real Good.

A manual push mower is a good idea to mow a small lawn. Aside from not using electricity or fuel to ride or push the mowing machine, it is also good exercise. Alternatively, buy a goat to eat your excess turf.

3. Rake For Old Time Sake.

Rakes are good leaf movers. Like the manual push mower, you do not need energy to fuel up a machine to get the job done. There is also a sense of nostalgia in using this traditional tool. After raking you can even jump into the pile you formed. Just make sure to rake it all up again.

4. Let There Be (Efficient) Light.

Use compact fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs to light up your driveway or as a security light. LEDs and CFLs are some of the most handy and energy efficient products that you can have. If you are worried about bugs sticking to the light, there are yellow options available. Outdoor, driveway and security lights are often on the longest, so switching these from traditional to efficient bulbs could pay you the most reward.

5. Quality Beats Quantity.

When shopping, avoid going for the disposable option. Disposable products need more landfills and landfills emit dangerous gasses. Go instead for items that could be used several times over. Again when shopping, go for products that are made of better quality. They might be a little more expensive but generally, quality products last longer.

6. Become a Bag Lady (Or Man).

Bring your own bags when shopping. Luckily in Los Angeles where I live, and in many other cities across the country, there are now laws in place banning stores from providing plastic bags. So it’s becoming more common to travel with totes readily available. Plastic bags are oil based and are not biodegradable.  If you bring your bag with you, you not only help in saving energy, you might also get a discount from your store.

7. Battery Is a Crime. Rechargeable Battery Isn’t!

Batteries contain toxic materials. They produce heavy metal like arsenic, mercury, and Iron Maiden (okay, just kidding about the last one). Thus, disposal batteries need proper care. Once the heavy metal in batteries seeps into the ground, it has a good chance of contaminating the ground water and soil. When buying products that need batteries, pick those that are rechargeable. That way battery disposal is limited and you save on the cost of buying new batteries.

8. Bigger Cars Are Bigger Problems.

Good thing SUV sales everywhere are going down. SUVs use much more energy than compact sedans for the same distance. While using SUV’s could be fun, there is also that tinge of indifference to the current energy issues and environmental problems we are facing. Reducing the use of SUVs on the street may not mean too much in terms greenhouse gas emissions but it’s a signal to manufacturers to build more energy efficient vehicles. Meanwhile, smaller cars are more efficient, easier to maneuver and park, and most newer model small cars are packed with some serious safety features, meaning you won’t have to sacrifice size for security.

9. Solar Is SO Good!

The use of solar power is an excellent idea if you want to tackle the issues of energy conservation and environmental protection. If there is one thing that the world needs most at this time, it is the widespread use of solar power. Thankfully, it’s never been easier or more affordable to add a full or partial solar system to your home. Look into it!

10. Save Energy and Frustration.

Energy saving devices may cost a little extra but the pay-offs are much more than the extra cost in terms of longer life spans and energy saved. Seriously. Just go for it and you’ll feel a lot better about yourself too. Don’t you hate changing light bulbs? Well, switching to an LED bulb could mean you won’t have to change that bulb again for another 22 years if you use it 3 hours a day. Use it for 6 hours a day? Fine, you won’t have to change it for 11 years. Some of my light bulbs are harder to access than an impenetrable fortress, so the idea of having to change them every 11 years rather than every 3 months, like a traditional light bulb, is pretty enticing. Don’t you agree? Make the switch to energy saving devices.

11. It’s a Family Affair.

It is best if you get your whole family involved in your quest to conserve energy. This is because all of you would be consuming energy every day. Talk to them about the benefits of saving energy, as well as the consequences of not taking action. Explain things properly, and make sure to make it clear how everyone can help make a difference.

12. Power Up That Dishwasher!

It is always best to use your dishwasher with a full load. Doing it this way can help to conserve energy over washing the dishes by hand. Aside from that, keep in mind that using a dishwasher (with a full load) actually consumes less amounts of water as well as energy than washing the dishes manually. Newer models of dishwashers often include an energy saving or efficient mode that will clean your dishes using the least amount of water and energy possible.

13. Cover It Before You Cool It.

It is important to cover or wrap foods that you store inside your refrigerator. This is because foods that are uncovered can release moisture inside the cooling unit. When that happens, it actually makes the compressor work harder, which means more energy consumed. Besides that, it also makes your fridge smell funky. So please, wrap it up folks.

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Energy Saving Tips for Kids – Teaching Your Kids To Be Energy Efficient

Energy Saving Tips for Kids – Teaching Your Kids To Be Energy Efficient

Saving energy and saving money should not be your sole responsibility as parents. Your kids must also learn to contribute in keeping the electric bills down. This way, your effort will not get wasted and at the same time, your kids will learn good values while growing up.

Because teaching your kids to be energy efficient requires some effort, here are easy to follow suggestions you can do:

Education

Teaching your kids the importance of saving energy should be your first goal. Take note that making them understand the value of being energy efficient is more effective than enumerating the ways to save energy and leaving it at that. Teach them how conserving energy helps the environment. Tell them stories or read educational books about the importance of energy.

Lead by example

You know very well that kids tend to follow what elders do. Practice what you preach. You may have listed and posted a litany of things-to-do to conserve energy but if you donít follow them yourself, you cannot expect your kids to follow it too. Do not just tell them to turn the lights off before leaving their room; show them by always turning the lights off every time you leave a room in your house. Education and leading by example are a good combination if you want to make good habits stick.

Make it fun

Find educational materials where your kids will learn the value of conserving energy as well as the ways on how to save it. Computer software, educational websites, books and television shows that educate and entertain kids would really make a difference on how well they will respond. This is especially applicable to kids from 5 to 10 years old.

Get your kids involved

Family activities should not limit to eating, playing and entertainment. Chores can also be a good way to bond with your kids. Manually wash the car, water the plants, clean the table, wash the dishes, clean the house etc. These are some of the things you can do with your kids while conserving energy.

Teach your kids according to their age.

Kids of different ages have different attitude on things around them. If your 5-year son doesnít know how to turn off the lights before leaving the room, all you need to do is to talk to him well about its importance and showing him that you practice what you teach.

Your 10-year old daughter may require different approach like showing her your electric bill and explaining to her that it will greatly help if she will change her bad habits. You are teaching your 5-year old good habits while you are teaching and emphasizing your 10-year old good habits and responsibility.

Same thing applies to kids of different ages. The point is, make sure that you teach your kids proper ways to conserve energy using an approach suited to their ages.

Energy saving tips for kids

  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  • Always turn the lights off before leaving the room.
  • Turn the computer off after use.
  • Do not hold the refrigerator open.
  • Unplug unnecessary appliance.
  • Use natural light if possible.

Saving energy is not so hard if your kids are involved. And just like any family activities you do, energy conservation should be fun, educational and driven by good motivation.

 

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