Eco-Friendly Home Tips – 25 Useful Ideas

Eco-Friendly Home Tips – 25 Useful Ideas

Increasingly the eco-friendliness of your home is a great choice. After all, we all want to support sustainability efforts, and be good to our world. Unfortunately, many of the “green” products on the market do come at a more expensive cost, which can put your budget in a pinch and dampen your enthusiasm for adopting new, environmentally friendly habits. There is good news, though: there are many different, inexpensive ways you can make your home better for the environment.

Here are 25 way to increase your sustainability efforts at home:

  1.             Eliminate incandescent light bulbs. New alternatives, like LED lights, burn for longer at cooler temperatures while still producing beautiful light.
  2.             Stop buying bottled water. If your tap water isn’t exactly tasty, choose to use a water filter that attaches to your faucet, or that can be stored in your fridge as a pitcher.
  3.             Take advantage of your garbage company’s recycling program.
  4.             Don’t throw batteries in the trash. They contain toxic chemicals that can leak into the water supply. Check online to find a battery recycling center near you.
  5.             Use fewer paper towels. Instead, buy a stack of cheap bar towels from a restaurant supply store and use them to mop up messes.
  6.             Don’t heat or cool your house when you’re away during the day. A programmable thermostat is a wondrous investment that will quickly pay for itself in savings and reduced hassle. It will even warm up your rooms before you get out of bed in the morning.
  7.             Don’t leave the lights on when you aren’t home, either.
  8.             Use a reusable thermal coffee cup instead of disposable single-use varieties.
  9.             Take the time to winterize your home with caulk, window and door seal-strips, all of which will help keep your home warmer without relying on the heater.
  10.             Switch to organic cleaning products – or make your own non-toxic products such as white vinegar.
  11.             Take tote bags to the grocery store rather than relying on plastic bags every time. Keep your reusable bags in your car so they’re never forgotten.
  12.             Shorten your showers to five minutes.
  13.             Switch to artificial turf for your lawn areas. It looks and feels better than natural grass, and requires little maintenance. You save time, money and water, and avoid polluting waterways with fertilizers. Artificial turf is even recyclable, when the time comes to replace it.
  14.             Use all that you buy for longer lengths of time. Just because a new version is sold doesn’t mean you need it.
  15.             Help someone else recycle by purchasing used items at garage sales, on Craigslist, or in thrift shops.
  16.             Help others by donating clothes and unused items, or hold a garage sale rather than tossing your unwanted goods in the trash.
  17.             Unplug your electronic gear once it’s charged, or when you aren’t using it.
  18.             Go paperless with online banking and bill-paying.
  19.             Don’t buy foods packaged in individual wrappers, such as yogurt, cheeses, and snacks.
  20.             Install an adjustable low-flow shower head, or low-flow faucet aerators.
  21.             Share tools and equipment, such as lawnmowers, with neighbors.
  22.             Plant a veggie garden – in pots, if you’re short on outdoor space.
  23.             Water your garden with “gray” water you’ve used to rinse dishes or laundry.
  24.             Collect rain water to use on your garden rather than turning on the hose.
  25.             Create a low-flow toilet by filling a plastic bottle with water and setting it in your toilet tank to displace some of the flush water.

Ideas for Drought Tolerant Landscaping in Texas

A yard that blends into the natural landscape not only showcases the unique aspects of an area but reduces water usage as well.
In Texas, you must also consider the lack of available water. Planting water-free or low water plants in your yard is a great first step to lowering your water use. The best way to create a drought tolerant landscaping is to blend low or water-free natural elements with artificial grass.

Xeriscaping, landscaping that concentrates on reducing water needs, is one of the most popular trends today. The reason for the rise of this unique landscape design is because local cities are mandating citizens to use less water. Other factors, such as droughts, have also played a role in people learning about this technique and applying it. It can also improve your curb appeal!

What Is Included in Xeriscaping?
Xeriscaping refers to gardening and landscaping that reduces or eliminates the need for water. It includes:

  • Ground covering elements like artificial grass, brick or stone patios, and walkways.
  • Décor such as bird baths, fountains and patio furniture.
  • Other elements like retaining walls, plastered walls, flagstone and pebbles.
  • Plants that are natural to the area and work well in drought tolerant landscaping.
  • Natural fabrics and wood produced fabrics that can remain outside.

Considering the Area
North Texas has a couple of weather patterns. In the Dallas-Forth Worth area, summers are hot and can be humid. However, the hottest part of the summer, topping 100 degrees, comes with dryness. Precipitation can either be a drought in the summer or flooding in the spring or fall.

Going more west and further north in places like Amarillo, summer temperatures hover in the 90s during the day and upper 60s at night. There is no precipitation for long periods, creating a need for drought tolerant landscaping.
This information is important in creating your xeriscape design because you will need to pick elements that can withstand the weather in your area.

There are a couple of elements that work beautifully in both of these types of weather and work well for drought tolerant landscaping. They include:

  • Stone. Whether it is a flagstone patio or pebble paths, stone will last no matter what the weather and naturally fits in both environments.
  • Artificial grass. Grass grows naturally in north Texas, but may be hard to maintain because of erratic weather patterns. Artificial grass will blend in with the landscape and requires very little maintenance.
  • Natural fabrics. Most of today’s fabrics are meant to withstand weather.
How to Do It
There are numerous ways to create an oasis in your backyard without using a lot of water.Some ideas include:
  • Build a stone or brick patio. This reduces yard space, so less water is used.
  • Build an outdoor fireplace. These are becoming popular as they create an outdoor room for entertaining. Since north Texas has cooler temperatures in the fall, along with some periods of cold weather in winter, an outdoor fireplace will extend time outside beyond the summer.
  • Use natural plants including tall grasses, border plants and container plants. Some ideas for north Texas include Horsemint, the Four Nerve Daisy, and Indian Blanket. All work well for drought tolerant landscaping.
  • Create a rock garden. Rocks and boulders are unique and can be arranged in a natural sculpture, blending into your drought tolerant landscape design. Drought resistant plants and cactus can be placed around them to enhance the garden.
  • Install artificial grass in small courtyards or in between concrete or pebble borders. This can be a difficult area to grow grass and even harder to keep manicured. Artificial turf is the perfect solution and adds color to your landscape. Since it requires no water, it works well in drought tolerant landscaping.
  • Use pebbles for pathways through your garden areas. This adds a natural beauty and is easy to maintain.
  • Install a water feature. While water conservation is key in xeriscaping, most water features today recycle water so there is little water loss. Having a water element in an otherwise hot and dry environment will add to the oasis effect. For the ultimate conservation of water, connect it to a rain barrel, so you aren’t using city water.
  • Add color with fabric. Use fabric to create outdoor curtains for a porch, cushions or pillows for furniture or pergolas.
These are just some of the vast array of ideas you can use to create interest in your yard and make it a relaxing place for the family to spend time. The best part is implementing these elements in your drought-tolerant landscaping can save up to 80 percent on water use, which reduces your water bill.