By Guest Blogger Jakob Barry
Yard maintenance is something every homeowner must deal with several times during the warmer season but whether they hire help or do it themselves the hard work often pays off in the form of a very pleasing landscape. At the same time it’s important to take into consideration how reaching this goal may affect our health. True, efficiency is one thing and our limited time is another but when trying to transform the yard into a picturesque scene or at the very least keep it somewhat respectable being a little more Green minded can be a great service to both the communities we live in and the greater environment around us. How so? In the course of keeping things under control we often make use of certain machines and substances which have the ability to harm our eco-system. Depending on the situation they are sometimes needed but in general going with alternative methods or simply back to basics can be a big plus vis-à-vis our health. For instance consider the following:
We all know the price gasoline has had on our wallets in recent years yet the environmental price we continue to pay is enormous and it doesn’t stop on the roadway. When summer arrives gasoline powered yard tools like lawn mowers and weed whackers contribute to vast amounts of pollution. The only difference is unlike the exhaust on the car we drive the fumes from these devices are directly in our breathing zone.
• Solution: For lawns use reel mowers, the manual version of the lawnmower. Once a common tool which sat behind they have been making a comeback in recent years. Use other manual tools for hedges and trimming bushes.
If we tracked down where all of our produce comes from it’s truly amazing how many poisonous chemicals are used to keep insects from damaging crops. It certainly poses an interesting question of how we should eat and who to buy from but it doesn’t have to be like that in our own backyards. Those should be pesticide-free zones.
• Solutions: When growing fruits or vegetables use non-lethal methods for dealing with pests. These could include companion planting, introducing pest predators like dragon flies into the eco-system, keeping plants healthy, or spraying plants but with natural based store bought products or homemade eco-friendly substances.
Unfortunately there’s no easy way out of dealing with weeds yet like pesticides weed killers are poisonous chemicals. Exposure is known to cause a range of side affects such as dizziness and fatigue and can damage internal organs. Since many pets spend days in the yard weed killers affect them as well and sometimes more directly because they are constantly rolling around on the ground.
• Solutions: Mix up a homemade eco-friendly weed killer with vinegar, mild dish soap, and water but keep in mind it will still kill desirable plants. Alternatively, spend a few extra minutes each week pulling the weeds out with your hands or hiring someone to do the job if you simply have no time.
Many of the cleaning products we use contain noxious substances which can cause great harm to the environment when absorbed into soil. Most of the time they are for indoor use but during the milder months outdoor projects pop up like washing windows or giving the car a shine.
• Solutions: Make a conscious effort to purchase eco-friendly brands or use a variety of household staples like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice and make your own soaps and degreasers.
Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for Networx.com. He blogs about green topics for pros across the U.S. like fence companies in Cincinnati, OH. ”http://fence.networx.com/fence-companies/OH/Cincinnati/”
Photo Credit: Steven Depolo