Think Green

9 Ways to Keep Your Garden “Green”

Summer or fall, here in California it’s nearly always the perfect time to implement eco-friendly habits in your garden or patio. Here are some easy-to-implement ideas to get you started.



Let it grow! Allowing your lawn to grow a few inches results in deeper roots and thicker lawns.


Go Native! Native plants require less water and have fewer pest and disease issues.

— Water between 6 and 10 a.m. to ensure water has time to soak in before mid-day temperatures set in.
— Make sure to water near the base of the plant (not over the top) –– soaker hoses are ideal and use less water.


— Composting keeps kitchen leftovers out of landfills.

— It also reduces dependency on chemical fertilizers and improves drainage and water retention

Outdoor Furniture

When looking for that wooden bench or lounge chair, make sure they are made from sustainable woods such as acacia or teak. Acacia grows in abundance in most places and teak farms provide a constant supply. Other sustainable alternatives are recycled aluminum or plastic



When looking to light up your garden or patio, opt for solar lights. They come in a variety of styles and sizes. Besides saving energy, they don’t need wires or extension cords –– just place them in the sunlight and you're all set!

Reduce Lawn Areas

Consider taking a portion of your lawn and replace it with native plants, rocks or mulch.


Save your back from racking and instead, “leave” them where they lie. Use a mulching lawn mower and shred the leaves into tiny pieces. Be sure to do this when grass is poking through the leaves to ensure you don’t bury your lawn.


Attract Pollinators

Planting a garden that includes plants that flower at different times of the year will produce nectar and pollen sources for pollinators like honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Think Green

Go Green in the Garden

Spring has sprung — which means many of us will be embarking on home gardening and landscaping projects.

Sustainable gardening practices — which provide tremendous environmental and economic benefits — have become more important than ever as the state faces its worst drought in decades.

Here are some easy ways to save water, reduce waste and improve soil in your gardens:

1. Mulch.  This is a soil covering used to control weeds or erosion, retain moisture in soil and insulate soil in cold weather. Organic materials commonly used for mulch include wood chips, ground-up landscape trimmings, shredded bark, coarse compost material, straw, and shredded paper. Spreading mulch several inches thick over your outdoor site will keep out weeds. In the summer, mulch is an especially effective way to conserve irrigation water.

2. Composting. This is the controlled decomposition of organic materials such as leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and food scraps — it’s nature’s way of recycling! The best way to compost food waste is to mix it with dry leaves, sticks and twigs, wood chips, sawdust, dried/dead plants, shredded newspaper, or paper from a home shredder, along with yard waste such as grass clippings. It will need to be “turned” about once a week by fluffing the pile with a pitchfork to give it air. In most California climates, the compost is ready in three to six months, when it becomes a dark crumbly material that is uniform in texture. Spread it in the garden, raised beds or under and around plants. The compost can also be used as potting soil.

3. Grasscycle. This is the natural recycling of grass by leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing. Grass clippings decompose quickly, returning valuable nutrients back to the soil. It reduces turf grass fertilizer and water requirements, which minimize chemical runoff entering storm drains and polluting creeks, rivers, and lakes. Similar to mulching, it’s also an effective way of conserving water.

4. Xeriscape.  This means landscaping with slow-growing, drought tolerant plants to conserve water and reduce yard trimmings. Landscapes need to be planned to be compatible with locally available resources, including water, soil types, and sunlight. Xeriscapes generally require less fertilizer and fewer pest control measures than traditional landscapes, and as a result, cost less money.

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