How in tune are you with Mother Nature?
All keen gardeners should be environmentally conscious, as it’s much better to work with the earth than against her.
I’ll admit that she makes it challenging sometimes – especially when it comes to dealing with undesirable plants and pests in our lawns.
But there are plenty of alternatives to using harsh chemicals and methods for achieving a beautiful garden.
In this article, we explore the 16 best tips for eco-friendly lawn care, so you can have total peace-of-mind that whatever you do is safe for kids, pets, and Mother Nature herself.
- Non-Toxic Lawn Care – The Main Points
- 9 Eco Friendly Lawn Care Tips
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Non-Toxic Lawn Care – The Main Points
For anyone in a hurry, I’m sure you’ll want to know the gist of this article, without having to read the whole thing (even though it’s not very long).
Here’s an at-a-glance guide to what we’ll be covering:
- General lawn eco-maintenance tips and tricks – including soil testing and power tools.
- Nature-approved methods for weed control – stay away from those chemicals.
- Likewise for bugs, pets, and disease.
- Watching your watering – eco, and economically-friendly H20 use.
- Making your own eco-fertilizer! Save money AND go green! It’s a win-win!
- Organic lawn companies – don’t be afraid to ask for some help.
- Clover – is it the new lawn, or is this some kind of crazy talk?
- Lawn alternatives – maybe it’s time to think outside the box?
9 Eco Friendly Lawn Care Tips
Eco/organic gardening is just one of several gardening styles, and it might not be right for you. Follow that link for more options.
But if you’re keen to go green, then let’s get into it, and explore each of these points in more detail.
Testing the Soil
When it comes to lawn maintenance, an often overlooked part of the process is to use a soil testing kit.
Many homeowners neglect this step (if they’re practicing any kind of lawn care at all), and simply throw on whatever fertilizer they’ve guessed (or been told) is going to work best.
But that’s not going to be any good for your pocket, your lawn, or the environment in general.
Over fertilizing your lawn leads to run-off, which in turn can contaminate waterways and kill off other plant life and essential organisms.
Which can still happen even if you’re using eco-friendly products!
Before you practice any kind of lawn maintenance schedule, eco or otherwise, you need to identify the type of soil you have, its condition, and its structure.
Only then will you fully understand what it needs, so you can apply the right product, at the right amounts.
This includes watering – and knowing your soil type will help you learn when to turn the tap off.
One of the key ingredients to a beautiful lawn is to learn how to cut it the right way. This article on the top 14 mowing tips will tell you everything you need to know.
However, there are a few extra things you can do to make sure you remain as green as possible.
Make sure you’re using the right lawnmower for your yard. It might sound crazy, but there are many folks who just haven’t got this basic step right. This article on the different types of lawnmowers will help.
And if you can, try to choose a battery-powered model. When it comes to gardening, power tools are often a necessity, but to be as eco-friendly as possible, we should try to stay away from the gas.
Don’t dismiss cordless tech just yet – many of the best battery-powered lawnmowers are easily comparable to gas versions, and the 60V one I use is outstanding. Follow that link for more.
Try to make the switch to as many green tools as possible. Considering the tech that’s improving all the time – most people really don’t need gas-guzzling, polluting, noisy machines.
And tools like string trimmers can distribute a lot of microplastic waste into your yard – which then makes its way into our rivers, seas, and oceans. Try to limit their use – and clean up well where you can.
Make sure you keep lawnmower blades sharp, which will improve efficiency, and provide a tidy cut. Follow this lawnmower maintenance checklist to keep your machine in top condition.
Don’t mow too low – especially in summer, when the grass can become stressed more easily.
Scalping the lawn is a sure-fire way to invite pests, disease, drought, and weeds, so check out this article on proper grass mowing heights which will improve your overall eco-gardening program.
And go here to learn how to mow tall grass if you’ve let it get a little too unruly.
Avoid bagging your clippings – and mulch whenever possible. There are several benefits to mulching when you mow – and an eco-friendly lawn is one of them.
Finally, it’s worth noting that there’s a new kid in town when it comes to Mother Nature approved lawn maintenance.
Take a look at this article, which offers some interesting observations on the robot mower vs ride on debate.
You might be surprised at what you find, but it’s not rocket science to know which is better for the environment!
Not only can overwatering a lawn drown the grass out – particularly if you’ve just put down new seed – but it’s a total waste in general!
And with hose-pipe bans, droughts, and other climate/water-related issues, leaving the tap running and the sprinkler blasting is grossly irresponsible.
Not only that, but less water can actually be more beneficial to a lawn, as it encourages its ability to withstand dry spells. You can also check this article out for more drought lawn care tips.
For earth-friendly lawn care, you need to learn how to water your lawn properly, and conservatively. Follow that link for some top tips on how to do so.
I also recommend using a smart irrigation system, which can save you time, money, and water. Your lawn will receive just the right amount of H20 it needs – depending on the season and conditions – with zero waste!
And here’s another good suggestion – why not make use of that which falls from the sky?
If you’re not making use of the rain – you’re doing it wrong!
Eco-Composting and Fertilizer
Regular readers will know just how much I champion home composting and DIY fertilizers for your lawn and garden.
There’s just no better way to encourage healthy plant life, with strong root growth, and bountiful harvests in vegetable patches.
If you haven’t done so already, get yourself a compost tumbler for outdoors, and a kitchen compost bin for food waste and scraps indoors.
Then you can start making and using the black gold! Naturally made compost is outstanding for environmentally safe lawn care, and organic gardening in general!
It would also be of benefit to read about the different types of fertilizers – so you can avoid the products that might be too harsh for your garden.
Aside from this, knowing how and when to apply them will also help with eco-friendly lawn care – so follow that link to learn more.
Use organic fertilizers that are packed with micronutrients that are essential for healthy lawn growth. They also offer the benefit of slow-release formulas that continue to help feed the lawn over time.
Finally, this article will tell you everything you need to know on DIY lawn fertilizers, so you can make your own, tailor-made, eco-friendly product to spread on your soil and grass.
I get it – weeds can be a nightmare to eradicate. I’ve had a running battle with creeping Charlie in my backyard for a few years now, and, while I tried to stay green, it just wasn’t that effective.
Sometimes, you have to bring out the big guns – like these commercial-grade herbicides. Always make sure that whatever you use is suitable for a lawn – and this article on the different types of weed killer will tell you more.
But please, only do this as a last resort – and take great care when dispensing such products! There are many eco-friendly alternatives that you can try.
Adequate dethatching, aerating, and overseeding can help with lawn control in your yard.
Look at it like this:
Your lawn is a battleground. On one side, you have undesirable plants, like the six most common weeds you’ll find in your lawn.
On the other, you have the desirable plants – in this case, the grass.
You want one side to win over the other. So, just like certain nations do with other nations, they “arm” the side they want to win the conflict.
In short – an excellent eco-friendly way to weed control is to empower the grass to crowd out the weeds.
Dethatching will clear the debris from the lawn surface, allowing nutrients, water, and sunlight to get to the grass, soil, and roots.
Likewise, aeration is going to improve drainage/percolation/permeability.
And adequate overseeding will introduce new “troops” to help bolster the ranks of grass. Those weeds won’t stand a chance!
Follow those links for complete guides on each practice, so you can learn how to control weeds in your lawn the natural way.
Alternatively – and this might sound crazy – why not just let them grow where they are?
I know, I know…what am I thinking, right?!
But some “weeds” and native plants like dandelions can be very eco-friendly to your lawn and garden, attracting birds, pollinators and other helpful insects to your yard.
Bees need all the assistance they can get!
Maybe it’s time to stop the war on weeds, and embrace the plants that grow wherever nature intended?
Keep reading for more eco-friendly, weird and wonderful options for your lawn area.
Like undesirable plants, when you first see the activity of an unwanted pest in your lawn, it can be tempting to reach for something harsh to eradicate it with no mercy.
But if you’re practicing eco-friendly lawn care, then you’re not allowed to do that, are you?
Instead, look for alternative methods of pest control that are designed to control the particular problem you’re experiencing.
It’s possible to micromanage the environment, which will make your lawn a hostile, unfriendly place for pests and disease to develop. Deny any plant, pest, or disease what it needs, and it won’t take hold.
Proper lawn maintenance is one successful option, and you can learn everything you need to know in our complete month-by-month lawn care guide.
You can also take a look at this article on how to get rid of grubs naturally, for example, and you’ll soon find out that the chemicals can stay on the shelf if you have a touch of alternative know-how.
Although largely stigmatized as an undesirable weed, clover has been enjoying a resurgence of late, as a great alternative to traditionally preferred grass species.
Why spend a lot of time, effort, and money fighting this plant, when you can embrace it, instead?
Clover is known as a nitrogen fixer – a plant that imparts a lot of “the big N” into the soil. This can boost the health of plants in your yard, and help keep more unsightly weeds at bay.
For more information, check out this article which explores why clover is the new grass, with all the reasons it’s an excellent eco-friendly lawn alternative.
And for other grass species you might like to consider, head on over to learn about different types of grass seed at that link.
Organic Lawn Care Specialists
Trying to do the right thing can be tricky sometimes. It’s easier to eat rubbish than it is to eat healthy.
Likewise, there’s no shame in needing a bit of help when it comes to organic gardening and lawn care.
Understanding the sciency part of the delicate balance of nature can boggle the mind.
So, don’t be afraid to reach out to an organic lawn care company if you could use some expert advice tailored to your particular requirements, in your particular region.
After all, the advice in this article is a general guideline, as everyone’s lawns are different, depending on location, climate, and conditions. Pros in your neighborhood will be the best people to ask for assistance.
As much as we beautifully manicured grass here at Yardthyme, and recognize that lawn care is an art form, we also acknowledge that they’re actually not that great for the environment in general.
At least, when you think about what you could be growing, instead.
And lawns don’t have the best history – as they were mostly cultivated for nothing more than a display of wealth. Follow that link to read more about their checkered past.
With that in mind, perhaps it’s time to ditch this dated practice altogether? Why not try some of these lawn alternatives, all of which would be much better for Mother Nature, anyway:
- Vegetable patches – grow your own food, become self-sustaining. Remove that lawn, and turn it into a bountiful harvest every year. Rraised vegetable beds can help you get started.
- Create a prairie – if your yard gets a lot of sun, why not create a beautiful prairie garden, full of long grasses, wild flowers, and plants that encourage helpful wildlife?
- Downsize the lawn – so you don’t have so much grass to cut and maintain, and grow other plant life instead. Perhaps add a pond or rock garden, as a visually pleasing option?
And this is barely scratching the surface, so you can check out the video below, which should give you plenty of inspiration for having something other than a lawn in your yard!
Eco-friendly lawn care doesn’t have to be complicated – it can start with a few simple changes, like doing away with all the toxic chemicals.
And you can even do away with your whole lawn!
Either way, if you can develop a maintenance schedule that’s in harmony with nature, you’re going to reap the benefits of a more beautiful-looking garden, anyway.
Let us know your eco-friendly tips for a better yard in the comments.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and happy eco-gardening!