Lawn care and landscaping activities consume tremendous amounts of water and introduce pollutants into the environment, including pesticides, herbicides and other harmful chemicals that can negatively affect human and environmental health. This section contains information on how to save water, reduce chemical use, and general lawn care and landscaping tips.
Follow These Tips for a Greener Lawn and Garden
- consider planting low-water, low-maintenance and low-fertilizer-use plants for your lawn and garden. These plants are very beautiful and are more suitable for growth in Metro Denver's arid, high-plains environment. Both Denver Water and Fort Collins offer more detailed information on Xeriscape.
Alternatives to Herbicides - when weeds have not totally overrun your lawn, consider spot treating them with the following cost-effective mixture: five parts household vinegar with one part liquid dish soap, applied with a handheld pump sprayer.
Use a Drop Spreader
Instead Rather than a Broadcast Spreader - drop spreaders are more efficient at placing the fertilizers or treatments directly on the lawn - or area to be treated - versus a broadcast spreader, which throws materials onto sidewalks, driveways and other surfaces. These materials can easily wash away with rain or sprinkler systems and get into storm sewers or waterways and cause unwelcome algae blooms that can kill fish and other aquatic life. You will save money because less fertilizer and other materials will be needed!
Mow Often; Keep Blades Sharp; Leave Grass Higher; and Mow During Evening Hours, if Possible - these tips will reduce the amount of watering needed for your lawn because the grass actually shades itself and reduces evaporation of the soil. Mowing more often and maintaining sharp mowing blades reduces trauma to the grass. As a rule, do not cut off more than one-third of the length of the grass when you mow.
Water Lawns in the Morning - less water will be lost to evaporation, which saves money.
Aerate your Lawn - water is more easily absorbed by loose soils. Over time, soils can get compacted, which results in more water running off the lawn, versus soaking into the roots.
Grass Clippings and Lawn Thatch - grass clippings do not cause lawn thatch to build up; they are actually a rich fertilizer composed mostly of water that decompose quickly if you maintain the rule to cut only one-third of the grass blade at any one time. Thatch is actually dead grass and root material that exists below the green portion that you see. Thatch can be removed by hard raking or power dethatcher, which can be rented from many power rental equipment companies.