A yard is just a yard, right? Sure, but it can be so much more if you use the space in a smart way to get as much beauty, use and function out of it as you can. Rethink a traditional lawn complete with yards and yards of grass that must be mowed — you simply don’t need tons of grass to make your outdoor space a gorgeous retreat that is welcoming and earth-friendly. Keeping a few tips in mind, your back yard may become a natural and sustainable paradise.
Feed the Birds
One way to make your backyard a more natural space is to provide food for the wildlife while you beautify your space. Feeding birds is easy to do and will draw in a variety of local, beautiful feathered friends to your yard. Black oil sunflower seed is a good choice as it’s high in fat and easy to crack open. Make sure you place your feeders away from areas where predators (such as house cats) are prone to wander — you don’t want to be known as a cat feeder. And during the growing season, plant sunflowers and other flowers that birds enjoy once they go to seed.
Flowers are pretty, but the work their pollinators do is far more important than their seasonal beauty. Research what types of flowers and plants attract bees and butterflies in your neck of the woods, and create a landscape lush with native plants. You’ll want to choose native flora because they are ideally suited to thrive in your locale, and your winged and feathered friends will naturally adore them.
Plant Your Own Food
Put your yard to work by designating some space for gardening. Nothing says sustainable like planting and harvesting nutrition straight from your own backyard. Install a rain barrel so you’re not wasting the occasional downpour, and reduce your own consumption of factory-farmed goods that must be trucked in to your local stores. Consider adding some small animals, such as rabbits or even goats (check your zoning first!) to your micro-farm, whose droppings can be used for no-cost fertilizer.
Pitch a Tent
Going camping is always fun, but if you plan to camp out in your own backyard, you will benefit in more ways than one. Think about what makes camping so great — you’re outdoors, away from the hustle and bustle of real life, and you’re also living off the grid, so to speak. While you’re camping, you’re saving on utilities and reducing energy, which is better on your wallet and on our resources. When you set up your backyard campsite, focus on your space’s strengths. You’ll want to opt for flat ground, but do you want to be relatively out in the open or nestled in among your trees? If you choose a secluded spot, you can add other awesome amenities, like your favorite hammock.
Leave Fallen Logs
Although at first they may seem unsightly, leaving fallen branches or trees in place can do wonders for your backyard ecosystem. They can become a source of shelter and food for birds, bats, insects, amphibians and even lichen and fungi. If this doesn’t sound like a cozy backyard scene, drag the log off to a corner or out of sight where you can still reap the benefits.