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About Green Landscaping
Landscaping and gardening are resource intensive because of the water and chemicals they need. The tips and resources here will help you maintain an eco-friendly, attractive yard.
Rethink Your Landscaping
- Rethink lawn care
- Don't water/turn off sprinklers if it's going to rain.
- Water grass early in the morning.
- Replant grass in fall or spring
- Incorporate native plants that don't require as much watering.
- Install a rain barrel to collect water for your plants
- Avoid using leaf blowers and other dust-producing equipment.
- Use an electric (or person powered) lawnmower instead of a gas-powered one.
- Leave grass clippings on the yard. They decompose and return nutrients to the soil.
- Use recycled wood chips (or recycled newspaper) as mulch to keep weeds down, retain moisture and prevent erosion.
- Use only the required amount of fertilizer or make your own by starting a compost pile.
- Minimize pesticide use or use as many natural alternatives as you can.
- Create a wildlife habitat in your yard.
- Rent or borrow items like ladders, chain saws, party decorations and others that are seldom used.
Composting at Home
Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up about 30 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Create and Certify Your Wildlife Garden
Here are some simple ways you can provide the essential habitat components of food, water, cover, and places to raise young while designing a garden space that appeals to your aesthetics and enhances the natural landscape.
GreenScaping: The Easy Way to a Greener, Healthier Yard
GreenScaping encompasses a set of landscaping practices that can improve the health and appearance of your lawn and garden while protecting and preserving natural resources.
Illinois Native Plant Guide (NPG)
From the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
This website contains descriptions, photographs, and range maps of many wildflowers and other plants in Illinois. These plants consist primarily of herbaceous flowering plants and some woody plants, whether native to Illinois or introduced from somewhere else. A wildflower, as defined here, is any flowering plant that flourishes and reproduces on its own without any direct assistance (or very little assistance) from people and their activities.
Lawn and Garden
While working in your garden or caring for your landscape, there are many things you can do to reduce waste and conserve resources. From caring for you lawn and garden equipment, to "greenscaping," learn what you can do to make a difference in the world around you.
Developed by the Chicago Botanic Garden. Includes a searchable and browsable database of plants, a glossary, zone maps, and links to other resources.
Using Native Plants in the Garden
University of Illinois Extension brochure on gardening with native plants.
It is possible to create a landscape that requires little to no supplemental water through the growing season, even in the hottest driest periods. This is sometimes referred to as xeriscaping.
Below are DVDs and books that can help you green your yard. Locate other materials in your local library's catalog by searching for the following:
- Gardening -- Environmental aspects
- Lawns -- Environmental aspects