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Earth-Friendly Landscaping in Austin


Austin is one of the most vibrant, gorgeous cities in the nation, long known for its kind citizens, burgeoning tech industry, dynamic music scene, and natural beauty. It is one of the fastest-growing and most popular cities in the country for good reason. It is simply an amazing place to call home. But Austin homeowners with an eye on sustainability know that cultivating a lawn and garden in the Central Texas summer is no easy feat.

The hot, dry summers of Austin can make it difficult to maintain a lush, well-maintained lawn. But with the right landscaping strategy, you can create a gorgeous yard that is both easy to maintain and friendly to the environment. Whether you are looking at homes for sale in Austin with an eye on sustainability or want to improve your existing lawn, follow these tips to create sustainable, earth-friendly landscaping.

What is earth-friendly landscaping?

Earth-friendly landscaping is an evolving trend in large cities of the south and west, where water can become scarce, and temperatures soar. Also known as sustainable or eco-landscaping, earth-friendly landscaping is a way to create and maintain a gorgeous lawn that is both kind to the environment and easy for the homeowner to care for. Sustainable landscaping approaches conserve water, nurture wildlife, protect the soil, and foster a healthier ecosystem.

Why use earth-friendly landscaping?

Earth-friendly green spaces are a great way to protect the local environment and are easy to maintain. Large, lush lawns with lots of grass and sprawling flower beds can be difficult and costly to care for. And watering a lawn like that can be harmful to the local water supply. With long periods of little to no rain, homeowners often turn to drought-friendly plants and sustainable landscaping strategies to conserve water. Lawns that are earth-friendly also require less care and maintenance, meaning homeowners can spend less time mowing, weeding, and watering their lawns.

Using earth-friendly landscaping strategies can help you save money as a homeowner. The City of Austin offers several grants, free landscaping tools, and rebates for homeowners who are interested in creating an earth-friendly, water-wise yard. Their Grow Green program offers tips and tools for Austin homeowners who want to use sustainable landscaping practices. These programs include incentives for Austin residents to install a rainwater harvesting system, discounts on watering timers, and free mulch for homeowners.

Earth-friendly landscaping tips

Here are some ways to practice eco-landscaping and create a green space that is earth-friendly.

Conserve water

Conserving the amount of water you need to maintain your lawn and garden is the first step in sustainable landscaping. Planting species that require little to no extra watering is an easy way to conserve water. Rain barrels and rainwater harvesting systems can help collect and conserve rainwater that can then be used on your lawn or garden. For garden beds, installing soaker hoses is a more efficient way to deliver water directly to the plant's roots. And when you water your lawn, containers, and flower beds, water either early or late in the day when the temperatures are cooler. This will reduce evaporation and help conserve water.

Add hardscape elements

Diversify your lawn and garden by adding hardscape elements in addition to plants, trees, and flowers. Hardscape elements can include stone, brick, wood, and pavers and can improve the aesthetics and sustainability of your landscape. Examples of hardscape elements are a deck, patio, pathway, or firepit. Elements such as these will reduce the amount of plant cover you need, adding to water conservation efforts. And if you opt for porous materials, it will allow rainwater to seep into the soil below.

Use mulch

Adding mulch to flower beds is an excellent water-saving strategy for your eco-friendly yard. Bare soil is subject to both erosion and drying, which can hurt landscaping and water conservation efforts by homeowners. Spreading a layer of mulch at the base of trees or in plant beds is a great way to help keep moisture in the ground. Mulch can help stifle weeds, retain moisture, and cool off the soil in the hot Austin sunshine. For low-cost mulching, take advantage of the free mulch program from the City of Austin.

Plant trees

Adding native trees to your yard can provide shade for both your home and other plants. In addition to providing shade in the warm Austin summers, native trees are great for birds and pollinators. Trees can also help to reduce water evaporation, aiding in water conservation efforts. Native trees are a great way to add low-maintenance, sustainable elements to your landscape.

Avoid chemical fertilizers

Sustainable gardening and landscaping practices should avoid chemical fertilizers that can harm the local soil, water, and wildlife. Use nitrogen and phosphorus-based fertilizers sparingly, if at all. The overuse of these two chemicals is harmful to both groundwater and plants themselves. If your soil needs extra nutrients for flowers and plants to thrive, use compost or organic materials versus chemical compounds.

Use native plants

Native plants are those that thrive naturally in the area where you live. These plants have developed natural defenses that help them withstand the soil and water conditions of Austin. This approach to sustainable landscaping, also known as xeriscaping, focuses on cultivating plants already adapted to the surrounding environment. Hardy plants that are native to Central Texas and Austin are drought-tolerant and require very little fertilization. So planting and caring for these native plants is beneficial for both the ecosystem and the homeowner.

Plant species native to Austin

Are you ready to add native flora to your Austin yard? The City of Austin has an excellent guide for plants that are native or adapted to the local ecosystem. Here are some native plants, trees, and flowers that will be perfect in your earth-friendly landscaping.

Plants and shrubs

  • Texas Dwarf Palmetto
  • River Fern
  • Fragrant Sumac
  • Fragrant Mimosa

Trees

  • Cedar Elm
  • Southern Live Oak
  • Bald Cypress
  • Honey Mesquite

Flowers

  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Englemann daisy
  • Texas Lantana
  • Maximilian Sunflower
  • Wright’s Purple Skullcap

Groundcover and turfgrass

  • Buffalograss
  • Frogfruit
  • Pigeonberry
  • Horseherb

An Austin home expert

Sammy Midler has years of experience in the luxury Austin real estate market. Her holistic approach to customer service makes buying and selling a home more of a relationship than a transaction. She helps clients create their dream life, starting by helping them find their dream homes. Connect with her today to begin your Austin real estate journey.



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