For gardeners, landscaping DIYers, and people who just love spending time outside, we’ve compiled six New Year’s resolutions that are easy to implement, virtually cost-free, will make a positive impact on the environment, and will allow you to get more enjoyment out of your property.
1. Just Plant Something. It’s that simple. Whether it’s a tree, a new flower bed, replacing a few sad looking shrubs, or adding a container garden to your back patio—now is the best time to start planning for new landscape and garden additions.
Not only are more plants better for the environment, but they’re better for you. Ever heard of biophilia? The theory suggests that there is an innate bond between humans and nature. Trees, gardens, plants, and flowers bring happiness. And neighborhood gardening projects can bring communities together. It’s a win-win situation.
For ideas and inspiration, take a look at our list of landscape and gardening trends for 2014.
2. Give Composting a Try. Composting is the process of recycling debris from your landscape and organic scraps from the kitchen to create a soil rich in nutrients that can be used in your garden and flower beds. Composting reduces waste in the landfill because many food scraps that you would normally throw away are actually compostable. These include egg shells, banana peels, apple cores, even spoiled fruits and vegetables that you never got around to eating.
Check out this handy guide to creating your very own Keyhole Garden, which is a raised planter bed that incorporates composting.
3. Pick Up Trash and Litter. If you’re on a walk and see a piece of litter on the ground, do the right thing and simply pick it up. One small piece of garbage doesn’t seem like much, but your efforts may inspire others and you’ll ultimately end up with a cleaner neighborhood.
A non-profit organization called Litterati, whose vision is a litter-free world, has turned picking up litter into a social media activity that’s fun and easy to participate in. Pick up a piece of trash. Post a photo of it to Instagram. Hashtag the photo with #Litterati. And finally, recycle, compost, or throw away the piece of trash.
4. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. You’ve probably heard this phrase before. It’s certainly not a new concept by any means, but you would be surprised at the amount of people that don’t recycle. GreenWaste, a privately owned recycling company, states that the average person generates 4.5 pounds of trash every day of which 75 percent is recyclable. But only about 30 percent of that waste is actually recycled. SustainIndy offers loads of information about recycling in Indianapolis along with some other great resources.
Reduction can play out in how you water your lawn. There are many tools available to help optimize watering cycles that will ultimately be better for your landscape, save you money, and help to conserve one of our most precious resources. You can read up on water reduction trips here.
5. Incorporate Sustainable Landscaping into Your Property. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. You can replace invasive plants with species that are native to the area. If you’re thinking about adding a new patio, sidewalk, or driveway, consider using permeable pavers. You can plant shade trees around your property that will help save on energy costs. Even planting with natural habitats and pollinators in mind will go a long way. You’d be surprised at the positive impact you can make with just a few small changes.
6. Try Something Different. Whether it’s getting involved in neighborhood clean-up efforts, donating your time or resources to a local organization like Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, or volunteering at a garden club, your actions can make a big difference in your community and the people around you.
So here’s to 2014. We’re wishing you all the best in your new adventures.