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Go Green Outdoors
You may wonder what going green outdoors has to do with building a new home. The answer is simple. Building a new home has a significant impact on the surrounding environment as well as the local plant and animal populations. A piece of land that was home to many plants and animals is now home to you and your family as well as your pets. It is important to do our part in giving back the environment. We should restore what we can back to its natural state. These ideas will guide and help you to make green choices from the beginning of the building process to your move in and beyond.
Preparing the Lot
- Plan to keep as many trees (especially the large ones) and plants as possible.
- Make an effort to protect native vegetation.
- Preserve any natural features, such as springs, creeks and rock formations.
- Avoid clearing or grading the land during wet weather in an effort to prevent soil erosion and damaging established root systems for plants you wish to retain.
- Pick up any litter, including leftovers from the crews’ lunches. Don’t start bad habits by involuntarily feeding the wildlife. And don’t upset the neighbor by letting your trash blow into their yard.
- Recycle any materials at the jobsite that cannot be used for another purpose during construction including plastic wrappers and packaging, scrap metal, cardboard cartons and drink bottles and cans.
- Clearly define areas for parking, construction equipment and material deliveries as well as areas that are off limits to protect and preserve vegetation or other features of your lot.
- Build retaining walls in sloping parts of the yard where soil may wash away.
After Construction and Into the Future
- On your moving day, be sure to park moving trucks and other vehicles on the driveway and street rather than in the yard where you are closest to the front door. Your lot is still settling from the clearing and grading. There is no sense in taking a chance of making deep ruts in the yard or damaging/destroying vegetation you made an effort to preserve.
- Use concrete or solid sidewalks and driveways when unloading and moving heavy furniture items.
- Install a sprinkler system for the lawn and planting beds and use it only when you need to.
- Lay sod or sew grass seed as soon as possible helping to prevent erosion.
- Restore wildlife habitat by choosing native trees, shrubs and other plants for your landscaping.
- Select plants that have minimal water and pesticide needs.
- Start your own compost pile and use it and mulch around trees and shrubs and in your planting beds.
- Plant evergreen trees as a wind block to protect against winter winds and choose deciduous trees to shade, cool and protect your home in the summer.
- Fence your yard or use another method to give your pet a safe outdoor area to roam preventing harmful encounters with other wildlife or harm to plants and other vegetation.
Once you’ve made the decision to build green, it is easy go green outdoors as well. With these helpful tips, you will be well on your way to having an earth-friendly front and back yard where you will reap the benefits for years to come.
For more information about green building and creating a more earth-friendly and energy efficient landscape, please read Go Green with Trees and What is Building Green?
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