Summer is upon us, and while we’ve yet to see some of the hottest temperatures of the year, local lawns are sure to wither soon without proper care. Of course, it’s important to factor environmental friendliness into your new home lawn care plan, so we’ve assembled five sustainable tips to help you keep your lawn, mindset and wallet as green as possible.
- Harvest Rainwater
Summer is a traditionally dry season here in the Pacific Northwest, but the famously fickle weather is still bound to grace us with a few rainy days. Collecting rainwater sounds complicated, but it’s actually an incredibly easy way to save you money and protect the environment year-round. In order to effectively harvest rainwater to water your lawn, you’ll want to make sure your roof isn’t comprised of toxic materials (like lead painted ceramic). Most materials are perfectly safe and won’t taint the water runoff, but it’s always best to check. Next, make sure your gutters are clean and draining properly to avoid debris blockage or bacteria growth in standing water.
Last, purchase a rain barrel and position it at the gutter or gutters you think will collect the most rain runoff. This can cost anywhere from $80-$300 depending on the composition, size and makeup of the barrel. Most will automatically come with a spigot or diverter and can last for several seasons if you maintain them well. Just hook that spigot up to a hose or sprinkler and hydrate your new home’s lawn without worrying about wasting community water resources!
- Keep A Schedule
If you live in Lacey, you’re aware of the mandatory odd-even watering schedule that keeps neighborhoods from overusing local water. Essentially, Lacey water customers whose addresses end in an odd number may water their yards three specific days a week, even numbers get three different days and no one waters on Friday. While this rule doesn’t extend through the entire county, it’s a great way to keep your lawn hydrated without hurting the environment. Pick three days a week to perform lawn care and stick to them.
While lawn owners love that lush, deep green, many overwater their lawns without even realizing it. Overwatering doesn’t just consume more resources than necessary, it can actually pollute groundwater by flooding applied fertilizer past the roots and into the soil, rendering it ineffective for the lawn and dangerous for the planet. You can tell if your lawn is hydrated by checking on the soil. Each time you water, try to get the soil saturated but not mushy, and wait a few days to give your lawn a chance to soak it up before you do it again.
- Mind Your Clippings
It might sound counterproductive to sweep clippings back into the lawn after mowing, but “grasscycling” is a great way to self-mulch. If you fertilize your lawn in any way, those post-mow clippings on the sidewalk or other hard surface will eventually rinse down into a storm drain or waterway, creating pollution. If they end up back on your lawn, they can enrich the soil.
It’s also important for the health of your lawn not to cut the grass too short. In fact, even slightly longer grass provides shade that can help the soil to lock in moisture, including rainfall absorption. By avoiding a close cut, you’ll help avoid weeds and strengthen the lawn’s roots for future seasons. It’s entirely possible to maintain a tidy lawn without giving it a buzz cut, and you may find that you love the lush look!
- Try Organic Alternatives
While pesticides, fertilizers and fungicides serve an undeniable purpose toward your lawn’s aesthetic, they can cause serious harm to the ecosystem, killing helpful creatures like earthworms and contributing to greenhouse gases. There are many organic options to use in place of toxic pesticides – for example, horticultural vinegar can help you eliminate weeds, and won’t harm your lawn as long as it’s used carefully, much like its chemical counterparts.
Take the time to research environmentally friendly options for feeding and maintaining your lawn and avoid storm drain runoff whenever possible. Eastside Urban Farm & Garden in Olympia carries a wide variety of organic gardening supplies for your new home.
- Aerate Your Lawn
Whether you slip crampons over your shoes, make use of a core aerator, or jab a garden fork every few inches, aerating your lawn is amazing for its overall health. Aeration is the best way to combat compaction, a common lawn problem that stems from the soil cramming together and blocking oxygen, water and nutrients from getting in. This is a naturally occurring issue, and one that many people try to address by piling on more chemicals and fertilizers. In reality, it’s as simple as punching a few holes in the soil.
If you see bald or bare spots, it’s time to aerate. You can leave the soil plugs on the lawn and put compost on top (sort of like giving your lawn a spa treatment) or put them into your family compost bin if you’d like the instant gratification of a beautiful lawn. Just make sure that, like your grass clippings, they aren’t on a hard surface long enough to get into storm drains.
Take Pride in Your Lawn
Do you want to live in a community that loves a lush, healthy yard? Rob Rice Homes sit on carefully landscaped and maintained plots, with gorgeous, customizable lawns. If that sounds like the place for you, we’d love to add you to our pre-sale list. Connect with us to learn more about our new homes.