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5
Ways to Green Your Garden

Taking your garden green could save you some money -- and the Earth's resources, too.

©iStockphoto.com/Elenathewise

Greening your garden is not just about having the lushest lawn or the most vibrant rosebushes in the neighborhood. Instead, it's about creating a garden you can enjoy today while keeping an eye on sustainability. It's using water efficiently, protecting the quality of air and water supplies, and replacing harsh chemicals with natural, healthy alternatives.

So what's the big deal with going green anyway, and what does your lawn have to do with protecting the environment? To understand the benefits of going green, it helps to understand how the greenhouse effect works. Nearly every item we use throughout the day is manufactured and transported using energy produced by fossil fuels. As these fuels are burned, they release carbon dioxide and other pollutants. These pollutants form a thick blanket across the Earth's atmosphere that traps heat. This trapped heat contributes to global warming, which may one day dramatically impact wildlife, plants, shorelines and human life. By choosing recycled or local products, you can minimize your contribution to this problem and help protect the future of our ecosystem.

In addition to global warming, green proponents are concerned with preserving limited resources, such as the world's water supply. According to the United Nations, at least two-thirds of the world's population is expected to experience water shortages by 2025 if current consumption patterns continue [source: United Nations]. By relying on more efficient methods of watering your plants, you can help reduce shortages and improve access to water in the future.

But a green garden does more than protect future sustainability. Simple greening techniques can offer benefits in real time, providing cleaner air and water supplies to you and your family.

The best part about greening your garden is how easy it is. Sure, you could search garden centers for the perfect chemical fertilizer, or switch to composting and get your fertilizer at home for free. You could fill your garden with exotic flowers and fight an endless battle to keep them alive, or you could switch to native plants and spend your time enjoying your garden instead of struggling against it. Going green is not only the healthy choice, but more often than not, it's the easiest and most affordable choice. Truly sustainable gardening is about finding simple, natural solutions, not about investing in the latest trends.

Did you know that you can recycle tea bags and grass clippings to help your garden grow? Read on to learn how composting can provide eco-friendly fertilizer.

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