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How to achieve a low maintenance backyard garden

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Great backyards cost money but costly backyards are not always great. Such is the irony of landscaping. Many people spend too much money putting up and maintaining their backyards compared to what they get in return.

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The key to cutting down your landscaping bill is to design, construct, and maintain your landscape in a sustainable way. In so doing, you spend far less money on it over time and you will draw immense satisfaction in return.

A sustainable garden may or may not cost you less to put up, but for sure it will cost less to care for because it makes fewer ongoing demands. The maintenance cost of a conventional landscape can run three times that of a sustainable one, and there’s a huge difference in the environmental impacts too.

Here are a few ways to manage your backyard inputs wisely:

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Water is in short supply in most places now, and it just isn’t right to use water that is suitable for human consumption to irrigate lawns and decorative plants when people in some parts of the country are going thirsty.

Fortunately, you can greatly reduce your landscape water use without compromising the appearance and function of your garden. Start by reducing the size of your lawn by replacing it with other not-so-water-hungry ground covers or meaningful hardscapes.

Always go for native plants that will do with the available rainwater hence do not require any additional watering. Whenever it is absolutely necessary, however, water using non-wasteful irrigation methods such as drip irrigation system.

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You can also explore ways of recycling some of the water you use at home.

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If a plant is well-adapted to local conditions because it is native to your area or comes from a similar environment somewhere else in the world, it will most likely be satisfied with the nutrients that are naturally available in the soil.

And if you can manage to resist raking up all those leaves that fall underneath them, you will be allowing valuable nutrients to remain in place. That means you don’t have to replace them with expensive, imported fertilizer.

If you just can’t stand to see the leaves lying on the ground, compost them and return them to the soil. When you absolutely have to fertilize, however, be sure to use organic fertilizers, which come from natural, renewable, non-petroleum sources.

These types are less likely to burn plants, and they are kind to the soil.

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Plants in nature get pests and diseases just like the ones in your garden. In nature, however, there is a better balance of pests and predators, and because the system is in a state of equilibrium, things are less likely to go wildly out of control.

By borrowing some of nature’s prowess, you can control most pests pretty easily without resorting to wicked chemicals and war-like ways. First, choose plants that are naturally pest-resistant, and then give them proper growing conditions so they thrive (healthy plants are much less susceptible to pests and diseases).

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If, however, it is absolutely necessary to use chemicals, use the least-toxic control method that you can get such as a non-toxic insecticidal soap.

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Weeds occur most densely in disturbed areas, where bare ground creates a favorable habitat for them. The bare ground in a flowerbed is perfect. And though you will never entirely get rid of weeds, there are some simple strategies that work just as well as the harmful chemicals.

For instance, you can plant densely. If you don’t have much free space in your landscape, the weeds won’t have any room to grow.


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