Rain water can seep through the joints in this brick walk. Photo by Carol A. Krawczyk

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Heal the environment with Sustainable Gardening Principles

  • Aim downspouts & sump-pump outlets onto grass or landscaped areas and away from driveways.
  • Plant native plants and remove invasive exotic plants.
  • Create a rain garden or gutter garden, and plant a buffer if you have a stream.
  • Reduce the size of your lawn and increase areas devoted to habitat.**
  • Start a compost pile & brush pile.
  • Use a rain barrel to collect water to grow fruits & veggies.
  • Stop using herbicides, insecticides and commercial fertilizers. Move or replace plants susceptible to problems.
  • Plant drought-tolerant plants and turn off your irrigation system.
  • Use pervious/porous pavement (decks, gravel, dry-laid pavers & stone) for sidewalks and patios.
  • Turn off outdoor lights when not needed -lights kill moths and other insects important for the environment.
  • Pick up after your pet.
  • Vegetate bare spots in your yard (including mulched areas) to prevent erosion.
  • Rake leaves into landscaped beds and allow them to decompose naturally. Leaves are God's mulch -they provide natural fertilizer, improve your soil and create winter shelter for fireflies, butterflies and other overwintering insects.
  • Work with your homeowners association to apply the same principles to your common open space.

Two good books:

Bringing Nature Home How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in our Gardens by Douglas W. Tallamy

Organic Garden Design School: A Guide to Creating Your Own Beautiful, Easy-Care Garden by Ann Lovejoy


Additional images

Filling in beds with groundcovers instead of mulch

reduces erosion, yard work and money spent on mulch.

Native shrubs like Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticilata)

are attractive and provide food and cover for birds

Leaf litter is God's mulch. Don't waste it and you will be

rewarded with more money, time, fireflies and better soil.

If you have a stream or lake, plant a buffer of native

plants around it to filter out sediment and pollutants