Large lawns are highly sought by homeowners for many obvious reasons. Having one opens up for more opportunities to do things outdoors, from barbecues to tag football to simply sitting back and soaking in the scenery. However, one somewhat ironic aspect of possessing a vast amount of green space around a house is the amount of energy, resources, and environmental disruption is necessary to maintain them in most cases. Eco-friendly the average large lawn is not.
Fortunately, this can be remedied with a few points of preparation and proper maintenance habits. The following are the best tips for maintaining a large lawn as eco-friendly as possible:
Grass & Flora Selection
The first step in eco-friendly solutions for large lawns involves working with nature, not against it. This is achieved by selecting grass seed, flowers, and trees which are suited for the local climate. Doing so reduces the amount of maintenance required, which significantly reduces the energy and resources required for a healthy looking lawn going forward.
Check with suppliers to see which grass and flora types are ideal for a given geographical area. For example, Kentucky bluegrass seed is suited for the middle to northern parts of the United States but struggles in climates closer to the tropics. Likewise, those wishing to keep blue jacaranda trees in the subtropics will have fewer maintenance issues than those planting the same tree in the temperate zone.
The amount of water used to properly maintain a typical lawn is pretty staggering. Every 10 square feet or so of lawn will need over 60 gallons of water a week to maintain. When we’re talking about an exceptionally large lawn, one in excess of 20,000 square feet, the water usage figures get steep, to say the least.
The previous step of picking grass and flora suited for the climate will help to cut down on this amount of water, but further action will be needed for successful lawn care water conservation. First on the list is checking for leaks throughout the irrigation system, whether it’s a simple sprinkler rig or something more elaborate. Afterward, set the system to a timer. Finally, or perhaps alternatively, consider installing a rain barrel to collect rainwater for irrigation use.
Despite EPA regulations for the manufacturing of lawn mowers and other gasoline-powered lawn care equipment beginning in 2011, the carbon emissions produced by these machines continues to be staggering. According to the University of Vermont, operating a typical lawn mower for an hour is the equivalent of driving the average car for 100 to 200 miles, so far as carbon emissions are concerned. Multiply this by all the lawn mowers active in the warmer months of the year and it’s apparent this equipment contributes heavily to air pollution.
When it comes to the equipment needed for maintaining a lawn while adhering to a certain standard of eco-friendliness, it’s best to upgrade anything over ten years old to ensure the products were manufactured under the new emissions standards. Additionally, certain cordless lawn care tools include ENERGY STAR certified battery chargers, meaning they use one-third less energy than non-certified alternatives per charge.
Lastly, eco-friendly maintenance of an exceptionally sized lawn requires good timing. As mentioned earlier, sync watering to a timer to prevent overwatering while also avoiding drying out the vegetation. Furthermore, abide by a strict schedule for mowing; too much and the emissions are unjustifiably high, but wait too long between mows and the machines will have to work harder to get through the overgrown grass, thus burn through more fuel per square foot of yard. Achieving this “goldilocks” rhythm will depend on the local climate, but a good rule of thumb is mow the grass once a week.
Who wouldn’t get enjoyment out of an exceptionally large lawn? Ensuring it’s properly maintained in an eco-friendly way is not exactly easy, but the feat is achievable by taking the appropriate steps. This way families can get the most out of their lawn, take the least out of the earth, and cut down on the amount of carbon put into the air.