Do you want to have the “yard of the month”, but don’t want to buy all those landscaping materials and waste resources? Here are 5 ways to save some green and still be green!
Join a garden club:
Want free plant cuttings? Then swap yours with other local gardeners and share their cost-cutting secrets. Also consider starting or joining your area’s Wild Ones Natural Landscapers Ltd. chapter, a group that rescues native plants from building and road construction sites (www.for-wild.org). Adopt these orphans and transplant them in your own beds.
Stretch your perennial budget:
Split clumps of your mature perennial plants to make an inexpensive ground cover. Replant the divisions to enjoy more summer blooms. This neat trick also works well with peonies, black-eyed Susans, Autumn Joy sedums and more.
Find free mulch:
Your town may have a compost facility that accepts grass clippings and tree prunings. Check the site frequently for free hardwood chip mulch, rich composted soil, and discarded trees. Tree stumps can be used as plant stands, and when they’ve served their duty, split them up into firewood.
Reduce your lawn size:
Reduce the amount of grass you have to mow by creating larger plant beds instead. You’ll save expensive gas or electricity, and the environment will thank you for reducing the use of fertilizers and potentially harmful pesticides. Don’t feel bad for the neighborhood kid that earns money mowing lawns — put him to work planting flowers!
Pay for less water:
Collect free rainwater in large barrels. Place them at the bottom of downspouts and water your plants with the bounty. Or bring your garden right to the source! Dig a shallow pit, 10 to 20 feet around, at the base of your downspout. Plant New England aster, red milkweed, gayfeather, and nodding wild onion among rock formations to catch the runoff.