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BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogSome people don't see the value of conserving water unless they live in a desert or drought zone. They fail to recognize that fresh water resources can dry up at any time or become polluted by nearby agricultural and industrial processes. No matter where you live, reducing water waste when landscaping is critical to protecting this life-saving resource and the environment. You can decrease the amount of fresh water used for your landscaping by following these three simple tips: Build a Patio Since grass is the primary feature of many landscape designs and requires a lot of water to thrive, homeowners should always decrease the amount of grass in their landscaping. One of the best ways to do this is with a paving stone sitting area or patio. A properly sealed patio surface prevents water-greedy weeds from growing between the stones. You can also design the surface in a way that channels rain run-off directly to nearby plants. You can check out companies like Paving Stone of San Diego to find the right size, shape, and style of pavers and other materials you want to use. Install Rock Gardens A patio isn't your only stone landscaping option. Many homeowners who care about water conservation invest in a variety of small, medium and large loose natural stones in wide bands, geometric shapes and other patterns with or without plants for ground cover. Some people also install large boulders surrounded by small plants that use little water. A serene Japanese "Zen" rock and rake garden is another option. Some homeowners even replace grass with painted square pavers designed to duplicate a life-size chess, Scrabble or other popular game board for outdoor play with family and friends. Swap Out Plants Unlike grass and many common seasonal flowering plants that need a lot of water every day to maintain their healthy appearance, succulents like cacti, agave and aloe retain water longer so that you don't have to water them as often. Even though moss species need moist environments, moss is another option that can store enough water from short daily misting to survive periods of dryness. It also rejuvenates quickly after a dry period when it's re-hydrated. Additionally, both succulents and moss are more diverse and colorful than grass and they don't require maintenance via gas-powered mowers and trimmers that also cause environmental pollution. Always keep in mind that with all plant-based landscaping options, misting and drip irrigation works better than a sprinkler because they use less water in a more targeted and efficient fashion. It is possible for you to have a beautiful landscape and reduce water waste. Start redesigning your landscape today.
BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogIf you are purchasing a new home, there are several eco-friendly features that you should consider investigating. Transforming your home into something that is both environmentally friendly and comfortable can be easy if you consider incorporating these features. Consider eco-conscious landscaping Landscaping is one part of a home that is almost always possible to change. However, when looking for a new home, it’s good to look for eco-friendly landscaping that is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally conscious. Instead of traditional flowers, there might be drought resistant plants, or native plants, that do not require a large amount of water. It’s also becoming more common to see landscaping choices like rocks and woodchips that take the place of some or all of the grass in a yard and cut down on water usage. These are both great starts on eco-conscious landscaping, but the most valuable thing to look for in your next home’s landscape is an updated irrigation system. Good irrigation systems use less water, cover only what needs to be watered, and are often programmable. Install Solar Panels Many new homes have incorporated solar paneling on top of the house. Solar panels allow the house to receive a certain percentage of its energy from the sun. There are many companies that can install solar paneling which can not only enhance the resale value of your home but also help to cut down on energy costs. Buying a house already equipped with solar panels is one way to go, but you can also look for a home that has a strong electrical system that could accommodate the electrical needs of a solar panel system. In addition to checking out the house, you may want to check out what kinds of benefits you may get from the city for having solar power for your home. Eco-Friendly Windows and Natural Lighting One of the best things homeowners will upgrade in their home is the windows. Windows are a great investment because they add value to the home and pay for themselves by saving money on heating and air conditioning. These particular windows are also great for the interior of the home because they block UV rays from fading or damaging upholstery and carpet. Eco-friendly windows will also help to regulate temperatures in your home during both hot and cold weather. In addition to eco-friendly windows, you may want to consider a design that incorporates more natural light throughout the house. Windows and skylights are a great way to fill a home with light without spending any money on electricity. Any of these things are a great thing to look for when buying a new home because they can help you save money in the long-term. While you may be able to find homes with great eco-friendly features, sometimes you’ll have to make those upgrades yourself. Either way, it’s a good idea to consult a real estate agent like those at Mark Fox Company to get details on any of the homes you’re interested in. Research all of your options and you will find that creating an eco-conscious house can be easier than you think.
The right landscape can greatly improve both the curb appeal and market value of a home. From landscaping arrangements that feature native plants or sophisticated irrigation systems that may reduce upkeep and maintenance costs to outdoor lighting options that may improve the appearance of an outdoor area after dark, there are numerous ways to improve the look and feel of an outdoor space. The following three resources can make a welcome addition to any lawn or landscape. Xeriscaping With Native Plants and Soil The potential water conservation that xeriscaping makes possible may result in lower utility bills and less demanding maintenance and upkeep efforts. Maintaining an attractive landscape may prove to be an uphill battle for those who utilize trees, shrubs and other outdoor plants that may have trouble adapting to a new climate. Soils that provide the right composition and pH balance and plants that are able to thrive with very little moisture may allow property owners to design the perfect outdoor landscape while ensuring water usage is less likely to place some strain on household budgets. If you’re unsure which materials to use to maintain these plants, consult a company like Bourget Bros. Building Materials and see what they recommend. Automated Irrigation Systems Automated systems offer a number of advantages. More precise control over watering and irrigation schedules and the means to ensure that lawn maintenance can be performed with greater ease and convenience can both make a considerable difference. These systems can be especially valuable during hot summer months for homeowners who lack the time or opportunity to water during the early morning or late-evening hours. Features like water-flow sensors can also ensure that lawns and landscaped areas are less likely to be over-watered, an issue which may cause excessive soil erosion or cause harm to plants. Recycled and Repurposed Materials Brick, stone, and even glass are all popular choices for homeowners seeking to utilize recycled materials to create hardscaped areas. Hardscaping offers a simple and effective way to redirect water flow, limit soil erosion or to create a more distinctive landscaping layout or design. Repurposing used and salvaged materials offer a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable option for home and property owners who may be working with a fixed budget or that wish to create a greener home. For many property owners and households, lawn and landscape irrigation often represents a sizable portion of utility usage each month. Materials, plants, and installations that allow for superior water conservation efforts make it easier than ever to create and maintain a green home. A few well-chosen landscaping upgrades or additions may result in greater savings than many property owners might expect.