Grow a Low-impact Lawn
Think for a moment about the energy that goes into a typical home's yard. Fossil fuel powers lawn mowers and string trimmers, creating harmful emissions. Fertilizers used to grow lush green lawns and bountiful gardens leach into groundwater, creating a pollution problem that can affect drinking water quality. And poorly managed rain runoff can lead to sewer overflows and flooding [sources: The Jonah Center for Earth and Art, Manfredini, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency].
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to grow an eco-friendly lawn is to use native plants as ground cover, rather than bagged grass seed. Try changing your landscaping to frame a small lawn with beds of native wildflowers, rather than growing a lawn big enough for a soccer pitch. The reduced water and fertilizer needs of the native plants will reduce the amount of chemicals you release into the environment, saving both the groundwater and your lawn care budget [source: The Jonah Center for Earth and Art].
With a smaller amount of grass, you may be able to upgrade from a gas-powered lawnmower to an electric or manual model, which can save in fuel costs and emissions [source: Manfredini].
Smart, eco-friendly landscaping can have a positive effect on your home's energy use, as well. By strategically placing shade trees, you may be able to protect your home from excessive solar heating on sunny days.