There are multiple reasons why homeowners reassess the environmental impact of their homes & lifestyles. The Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) provides some fascinating insights into the changes that many seek to make.
Over 83 percent of respondents want to include native plants in their landscaping. The reason being is they are better adapted to the local conditions and can handle environmental stresses, such as drought, better than non-native ornamental varieties. This improves the overall health of the land as well as the resistance to disasters. Another interesting finding is that over 70 percent wanted to reduce the size of their lawns. That’s a good thing, given they are the most irrigated land in the United States.
Fortunately, you can make a significant difference in your carbon footprint, sustainability, and water use with some simple hacks.
One of the easiest changes you can make to reduce your energy consumption is swapping out incandescent and CFL bulbs for LEDs. Advances in technology have made them more affordable than ever and will cost one-sixth less to run in comparison to an incandescent bulb. You can also set schedules for the lights in your home & sleep timers to curb unnecessary use.
Another great option is to upgrade your thermostat to a smart device. ENERGY STAR estimates that you could save over $900 a year by optimizing the heating & cooling systems in your home. Speaking of upgrades, by replacing old appliances with smart appliances that are Energy Star-compliant you can easily halve the amount of energy used from your existing appliances.
One key way that you can get even more out of these changes is by ensuring that your house has adequate insulation. We suggest checking all doors and windows for leaks that could be causing your A/C and heating to work overtime. We also recommend checking your foundation for any cracks to keep an efficient and energy-conscious system running.
If you plan to remodel, opt for eco-friendly home design elements. This can include window & door upgrades, windows & doors with better seals, or replacements for damaged items that utilize recycled materials. Even simple projects can make your living quarter more sustainable, such as setting up a rain barrel. You can also install a smart water sprinkler to maintain your plants based on the soil’s moisture and your local area’s weather patterns. All of these tips can help build a more cost-effective and eco-friendly home design.
Self Sufficiency & Keeping it Local
One of the unexpected but positive outcomes of COVID was the move towards gardening & growing one’s own food. The mental health benefits of partaking in this activity also swayed many people to take up a rake. It’s a win-win all around.
If you’re interested as well, one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and waste is growing your own food forest. People can save money and earn the satisfaction of producing their own foods right in their backyard. Incorporating food forests as part of landscape design is good for the environment, too. These plans use different layers to grow plants, which mimic the natural environment in which they are found. It’s not just the trees overhead but also herbs and fungi at the ground level.
It can also help anchor the soil and mitigate flood damage, particularly in urban areas with a high percentage of impervious surfaces, such as roads and parking lots. Gardening also creates a reservoir for carbon and can help reduce the effects of climate change.
So you can see that it’s not as difficult as it seems to create a more sustainable and eco-conscious home. It only requires good planning, dedication, and a bit of work. Pick one, two, or even three of these to start and you will be well on your way towards a home that you’ll be proud of.