As I mentioned last week, we’ve recently put in a small lawn and have been looking into ways to take care of our yard with non-toxic techniques.

Sometimes I feel like it would be “easier” to just go with more conventional methods to care for landscaping but my desire to create a safe yard for my kids coupled with my desire to care for creation just won’t let me give in. With a little time and effort, there are ways to have a greener (yep, pun intended) yard.

Mow the Old-Fashioned Way

When we were planning a lawn, we definitely wanted to forgo using a gas mower. With such a small space to maintain, it made sense for us. In addition to not burning unnecessary gas (and therefore polluting the air), using a push mower also gives my hubby a little exercise since it takes a bit more energy to push, and it leaves the grass clippings on the lawn which helps prevent weeds.

Fight Weeds Naturally

Don’t spray, pull! Getting down on your hands and knees and pulling weeds is an imperative part of the non-toxic yard. But you can also help yourself (and your back) out by mulching, not letting weeds go to seed, and by using corn gluten, which is a natural substance that inhibits the formation of roots  in weeds.

Photo by Field Outdoor Spaces

Collect Rainwater

If you live in an area where summer rains are common, you might as well collect some of that rain to water your yard or garden with! We get rain about once a summer so it’s a no-go for me in Southern California, unfortunately.

Just be sure to check with your HOA first. When I lived in a master-planned community in Colorado, a friend looked into it and the HOA claimed that they “owned” the water so he wasn’t allowed to collect. Sounded a little fishy to me… If it’s permitted though, this would be a great way to reuse water that might otherwise just wash down into a storm drain.

Use Native Plants

Growing plants that were designed to live where you do is great for the environment. According to NC State University, native plants are beneficial to wildlife and preventing the introduction of invasive plants. They also tend to require less maintenance and blend in nicely in your community. Head to your local nursery for advice on what plants are native to your area.

I also wanted to mention a book that was recommended by Simple Organic reader, Kika, called Eco-Yards: Simple Steps to Earth-Friendly Landscapes. I haven’t read it myself, but it looks like a great resource!

What are your techniques for keeping your yard beautiful yet non-toxic? Do you employ any of these methods?