Going the green way

Landscaping is important to give us the much needed breathing space in the concrete jungles we live in. (Image for representation. Credits: PXHERE)

Does growing any plant in your garden make you an environmentally conscious person? Well not really. Growing certain exotic-plants actually does more harm than good. So we need to choose the right plants at the right place.

When we talk about landscaping, we generally think of vast spread of lawns that reaches the sky line. But have you ever wondered how much it costs, both in terms of money and energy to maintain those golf-course like grounds?

Traditional landscaping methods require a great amount of upkeep. Its maintenance requires huge amounts of water, fertilizers, pesticides and energy. In fact, lawn mowers emit ten times the hydrocarbons emitted by cars per hour. Around 50% of the water used in maintaining these landscapes get wasted due to evaporation and run-offs. The use of pesticides, maintenance equipment result in emission of green house gases that are four times the amount of Carbon Dioxide stored in the lawns.

So, the questions are: is landscaping needed? Is there an alternative? The answer is 'yes' to both.

Landscaping is important to give us the much needed breathing space in the concrete jungles we live in.

Greening our gardens

We are living in a world where the availability of potable water and fossil fuels in future is uncertain. We need to adopt a sustainable way of living so that we preserve the precious natural resources for the future generations as well. So it is necessary that our landscaping methods are sustainable as well.

Eco-landscaping is the green way of landscaping. Eco-landscaping not just makes your gardens beautiful but also makes it environment friendly. It ensures our outdoor spaces are natural, self-sustaining and chemical-free.

The key components of Eco-landscaping are: water conservation, energy conservation and minimizing the use of fertilizers, chemicals; thereby reducing the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.

Eco-landscaping methods

1. Select your plants wisely

To achieve these targets we need to switch to 'native plants'. Native plants are well adapted to the local climate, geography and hydrology and should ideally require no/ very little amounts of fertilizers, pesticides and watering and hence require less maintenance. Native plants and trees will help in preserving the natural habitats and also provide food for the local wildlife.

2.Water conservation methods

The most important water conservation method would be rain water harvesting to meet the watering needs. In most cases we either end up over-watering which results in wastage of water due to run-off and evaporation or end up under-watering which can affect the plant growth. To achieve greater efficiency, plan your garden in such a way that the plants that require the same amount of water are grown together. You can make use of drip irrigation too.

3. Mulching

Cover the soil with leaves, compost, rocks, gravels etc. Mulching helps in reducing soil erosion, conservation of soil moisture, improves soil health and fertility. It reduces growth of weeds and also improves the appearance of your garden.

4. Composting

We are all aware of the amount of waste that is generated each day. We can actually convert our kitchen waste (leftovers of fruits, vegetables, tea bags, coffee grinds etc) to compost. Less waste in landfills means less greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping is the art of growing drought resistant plants. Grow plants which are hardy and require less water. Grow bougainvillaeas and hibiscus in your gardens to add a splash of red, pink or any other colour, all within your water budget.

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Going the green way

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