With all the news of policy changes and environmental disasters around the world it can make one feel hopeless and overwhelmed on doing something about it. There are many things that you can do to be a force for good for the environment and the answer is as easy as starting at your own home. Your yard is the perfect place to start creating an inspiring landscape that both supports you, your family, community, and local and world ecosystem. Here are three ways you can easily start:
1) Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden: Pollinator species such as bees face habitat loss while they are also critical for our food system - 1 in 3 sources of your food are made possible because of pollinators. The solution? Create a habitat for pollinators, birds, and more! You have prime real estate to provide a sanctuary for these species. Even if the space you have to offer is as small as a pocket garden these species appreciate a place to land and rest on their travels across the world.
By planting native, low-maintenance plants that attract bees, butterflies, and your favorite birds, it can be easy and inexpensive to create a large environmental impact. Be wowed and interact with the biodiversity of the creatures that share your sanctuary and know you are doing your part in helping the world.
2) Xeriscape: Did you know the average household uses about 150,000 gallons of water for it's grass yard a year? Grass is high-maintenance, expensive, and serves little to the native ecosystem. Get rid of your lawn or parts of your lawn and Xeriscape! Using rocks and wood mulch, you can plan and create an aesthetic design that is functional and saves you time and money. With a combination of native, low-maintenance plants and trees your yard can provide a negative carbon footprint.
3) Create an Edible Landscape: This is a fun one! What good is a yard if you can't interact with it? Don't just grow grass, grow food! Grow your food in garden beds, bushes such as berries, and trees such as apple trees and have you own Garden of Eden. There are few things more rewarding than eating your own grown food, more delicious and nutritious than anything you can buy from the store. Live in a climate that gets frost? Hoop Houses and Cold Frames can cover your Garden Beds to support a closer to year-round grow.
Practicing a conjunction of these three methods in creating the ultimate garden and landscape has infinite benefits. Neighbors will be inspired to create functional and beautiful landscapes of their own as the vision of a world living in harmony with the Earth is actualized. Don't just work for your yard, have your yard work for you. In a world where a force for good is essential, it's easy to get started, and it's as easy as in your own backyard (and front yard)!
Editor's note: If you are in Colorado or Wyoming, the Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero program will certify your existing bird & pollinator-friendly, native, low-maintenance garden as an official Audubon-certified Habitat Hero Garden. Want help designing and installing a new Audubon-certified Habitat Hero Garden? Earth Love Gardens will help design and install one for you!