Green living: Save Our Earth By Living Green

Green Thumb: Landscaping Advice To Use This Spring

Spring is upon us, and it’s time to consider making greener landscaping choices. Here are five great ideas you can use for a garden or yard of any size and shape.

Green Thumb Landscaping

Choose Native Plants

Rather than exotic plants ill-adapted to Utah’s climate that can wreak havoc on the ecosystem, choose native plants. They typically require less water, little to no fertilizer, and less general care. Minimizing opportunities for invasive plants to spread from yards and gardens to other areas helps wildlife, too.

Plant Perennials Instead of Annuals

Because annuals develop shallow root systems, they aren’t as efficient with water as perennials. Many hardy local perennials erupt into beautiful color at different points in the year–they’re perfect for creating gorgeous landscaping amidst Utah’s desert/mountain climate. Try fragrant puccoon, hotpot penstemon, meadow fire, purple crazypea, and firechalice. Flowering trees like Western Mountain Ash or shrubs like mallowleaf ninebark are also attractive, native options to bring blooms into your landscaping.

Create Garden Zones

Arrange plants based on the amount of sunshine and water available. Place sun-friendly, drought-tolerant plants where they’ll get the most afternoon sun. Plants that require shade should all be planted in a separate area, and plants with needs between the two extremes should have their own transitional zone. Locate high water zones closer to buildings and low water zones far from them. This saves water and can create attractive groupings.

Have Drips or Sprinklers Installed By Professionals

Targeted watering helps save water, and installing sprinklers and drips is an easy way to do it. This is both good for the plants and something that prevents runoff into waterways. Professional advice and installation means you’re less likely to over-water and more likely to strategically water, for example those doing landscaping in Utah might find professional planning helpful in other ways.

Shrink Your Lawn

Traditional large lawns of Kentucky bluegrass or fescue are unhealthy monocultures that require excessive watering and contribute to runoff problems. Limit lawn size as much as possible, placing grasses only where necessary. Use groundcover plants, trees, shrubs, permeable pavers, decorative boulders, and garden beds instead. Expanding mulch areas can also make your lawn smaller. Consider varieties of turf that use less water than Kentucky bluegrass, like blue grama.

If you’re still stuck, consider talking to some like-minded individuals in your area. Local gardener’s clubs, botanical gardens and conservatories, or environmental groups are good places to start.

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