How to Rethink Residential Gardening for Climate Change


Gardeners and landscapers who like more green than grey in their property are a strong force fighting climate change. At least they can be if they chuck out some old practices and adopt new environmentally friendly ones. With rapidly rising temperatures, more forest fires, and cyclones, it’s high time to rethink residential gardening for climate change. If you want some green landscaping in your property and contribute more oxygen to the environment, you can hire professionals to do it for you by searching “landscape companies near me”. When you’re doing it on your own you may follow these gardening tips to fight climate change:

The Proposal

  • Get rid of the lawn – the United States has an obsession with lawns. It used to be part of the defense structure in European castles and fortifications that forced enemies to expose themselves on open ground. Soon it became a status symbol in the United States and the post-war boom awarded almost every suburban property with a lush turf of grass. However, turfgrass is one of the biggest water hogs that require around an inch or two of water every week.

While an inch seems like nothing when you do the math the grim reality sinks in. When you need to water a square foot of turfgrass up to an inch, you need 0.62 gallons of water. An average backyard measures over 8000 square feet. So, that means you need to waste 5000 gallons of water each week to keep your property green. If you use a gas-powered lawnmower to keep the turf presentable, you add unnecessary emissions. Even if you use a battery-powered electric lawn mower, it uses lithium, which is very difficult to mine and causes all sorts of ecological damage.

That’s why you need to get rid of the lawn as soon as possible. Instead, visit the local gardens to get inspiration for your lawn. Cities and botanical foundations host such tours where they show you the rich native plants and wildflowers that can grow on your property with minimal maintenance and drastically low water consumption. If you live in a dry climate more prone to droughts, try out xeriscaping, where you choose plants that consume an insignificant amount of water.

Lawns are so bad that they are responsible for four percent of total annual carbon emissions in the US. Turfgrass is also the largest crop by area in the country. Lawns occupy three times the area of the second-largest crop in the United States – corn. Lawns need to go and by getting rid of turfgrass, you can save money, time, effort and also build towards a more sustainable future.

  • Feed the birds – During fall, every gardener is very eager to cut down everything so that they can prepare for the winter season. However, doing so interferes with the local wildlife, especially birds. Forest land is reduced every day and green spaces are becoming more common. This takes away the natural and limited food source of many animals and birds. Instead of cutting down everything at the start of the fall, wait till late winter. Leave grasses and seeds heads in various parts of your garden to feed the birds. Also leave twigs, small branches, and other parts of plants for animals and birds to make dens and nests. You can also visit the website of the Audubon Society and search for native plants in your region.
  • Use smart irrigation systems – Watering with a hose is boring and wasteful. Moreover, your plants may wither and die if you go on a vacation and don’t have anybody to water your plants. Fortunately, there are several smart irrigation systems that you can use on your property. There are irrigation systems with timers that allow you to schedule the amount of water that plants should receive every day. If you can use a drip irrigation system that also uses in-ground sensors to detect ground moisture you can further optimize the process and take care of your plants with minimal water waste. If you’re stuck with a hose, water your plants early in the morning to prevent water loss to the heat of the sun.
  • Compost wisely – You don’t need a sprawling property that gives you an abundant supply of organic matter to turn into compost. You just need to be smart about it. If you live in a tiny apartment in a bustling city instead of a large suburban home, you can use a small worm compost bin. Organic matter is also abundant if you know where to look. Wasted food, bills, marketing materials in the mail, letters, and much more. You won’t get a large pile of compost at the end, but it would be enough to take care of the houseplants that can fit in your small apartment.
  • Collect rainwater – Freshwater is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. That’s why you need to think about rainwater collection for your garden. You can do it with buckets when it rains or automate the whole process. You can direct roof gutters to a separate reservoir that can be dug into the ground. You can connect your irrigation system to this reservoir and set it up to use the reservoir water first before it taps into the main water supply line. This doesn’t just minimize water waste but also helps you reduce your water bill.


Now that you know about sustainable gardening tips, you should implement them as soon as possible. This can help you reduce your water consumption and also cut down on the pollutants you contribute to the soil. These tips should help you take a positive direction towards climate change. If things look too tough, you can hire the help of pros by searching for “landscape companies near me”. Enter your zip code and hit search to get a list of native plants and the corresponding birds they may attract. Birds and critters are important pollinators and helping them may increase the natural flora in your region.

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Matthew Okafor