Environmentally Friendly Gardening

It’s that time of year again when my wife is in full gardening mode.  Plants are sitting in our backyard waiting for holes to be dug, mulch is sitting in bags (and I stress the plural part of that word!) waiting to be spread, and plans are underway to remove any remaining grass in our yard and replacing it with a drought resistant, ‘unkillable’ ground cover (I’ll get back to you at the end of the year with news of our success or failure with this amazing super plant!).

If you find yourself in the same frame of mind and you’re itching to get in the yard to do some gardening you might want to consider some simple tips from the CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation).  These suggestions were put together with the goal of making your yard both environmentally friendly and better for your personal health.  Not a bad combination!  Here is a summary and happy gardening!



  1. Pesticide and herbicide free maintenance.  Apply a 4 cm layer of mulch in your garden beds to deter weed growth and remember that the best controls for insects and pests are natural ones like birds and beneficial insects, so make sure that your garden has a variety of small trees and shrubs to attract them.
  2. Reduce use of chemical fertilizers.  You should be able to enjoy a lawn and garden free from chemical fertilizers with the proper consideration of your soil condition and organic content.
  3. Make your vegetable garden organic.  Vegetables that are grown with organic fertilizers tend to be healthier not only for the environment but also for the consumer.
  4. Reduce the area of your yard that is dedicated to being a lawn.  Smaller lawns mean less maintenance and reduced water requirements.
  5. Use trees for windbreak and shade.  You should be considering your home’s energy needs so consider planting a windbreak to reduce the energy impact of harsh winter winds and trees along the south and west sides of your home to give cooling shade in the warmer months.
  6. Invest in a rain collection system (cistern).  Rainwater is free!
  7. Install efficient water systems.  Try a sub-surface drip irrigation system in plant beds and in-ground sprinklers with automatic timers for lawn areas.
  8. Don’t over water!  Be responsible with the use of water and remember that the lawn once established only requires about 2.5cm of water per week.  Try using a plastic container to measure if weekly rainfall is enough to sustain the lawn.
  9. Plant drought-resistant native species.  Typically native plants and grasses can often survive longer periods of low rainfall without desperate need for watering.  They are also typically more resistant to pests than non-native species.
  10. Install efficient exterior lighting.  Consider using exterior-rated fluorescent or sodium lighting.

These suggestions are all part of an initiative by the CMHC that is called Healthy Housing, click here for the full publication. If you are interested in finding other suggestions for making your home healthier for both you and the environment click here.

Speak Your Mind