Blogs > Tom Miller > August 2010

A green landscape without a sprinkler. And a lot less fertilizer and chemicals.


I really do not like watering the grass. It seems like such a terrible waste to use treated water to grow the grass, which then has to be cut, fertilized and treated with herbicides and pesticides.
So, for the past several years I have been implementing a landscaping plan that would dramatically reduce the amount of water, fertilizer and chemicals I used. I started by focusing on two ways to minimize the amount of grass on the property: using native ground cover and hardscaping.

This approach worked well, because the many mature trees provided the right amount of shade for the ground cover, and the hardscaping also provided visual interest while letting water absorb naturally. And, the focus was on native plant material whenever possible, and drought-tolerant species whenever possible. Once the plants begin to establish themselves it will also be possible to reduce the amount of mulch, which consumes a considerable amount of energy in its production, transport and installation.

The next step was to work with the lawn maintenance company to make sure the fertilizer was phosphorus-free. And instead of monthly spraying herbicides and pesticides, we worked out a plan where they would inspect the property and only spray when there was a specific issue, and then only in the area affected.
I notice a few more weeds, but feel it is a great trade off to not be indiscriminately spraying.
As for watering, I started only watering new plant material. After the first season, the plants are on their own, and everything seems to be doing fine, even in the excessive heat in central Indiana this summer.
Also, the rainwater is directed from the home’s rooftop to water specific areas of the property. Plus, the water that lands on the driveway in also channeled off the driveway into the ground cover, keeping the vast majority of the rainwater on the property and out of the storm sewers.

Posted: 8/17/2010 12:38:59 PM by Heather Wallace | with 3 comments

About Me

Tom Miller is not a building scientist, green guru or even a halfway decent DIYer. However, he is passionate about making a difference, ecologically speaking.

The purpose of Tom’s blog is to share experiences and observations from a homeowner’s perspective in the hopes that it will help building professionals spot unmet needs and dramatically increase the velocity of green building adoption across the country.




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