Why are yards, parks, forests and other green spaces so beneficial for us and the environment?  There are a multitude of reasons.

How do we take care of them responsibly?  Many ways exist to be water-wise and earth-friendly.

Check out some resources and studies below that show the science behind why lawns and landscapes are important and ways to explore your own ‘habitat’ and climate zone so you can “grow it right.”

First Step:  What is your Unique Ecosystem?  Investigate your unique ecosystem with this interactive U.S. map.

Studies and Reports

Mental Health and Physical Benefits of Green Spaces.  See University Study Here.

New Study Shows Responsibly Managed Lawns Reduce Carbon Footprint.  Read the Study Here.

Why are Green Spaces so Valuable?  Read about the environmental benefits of green spaces

10 Environmental Guiding Principles for Responsible Lawn Care and Landscaping. Read the principles here.

Responsible Lawn Care and Landscaping.  Information from Michigan State University or the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

What to Plant and Where

Check out your Climate Zones:  http://maps.howstuffworks.com/north-america-climate-map.htm

Check out your Rainfall Map: http://maps.howstuffworks.com/united-states-annual-rainfall-map.htm

Tips for Discovering and Nurturing Nature, Right in Your Backyard

Parents and children can ensure their backyard landscape not only provides a healthy place to play and relax, but also  does its part in creating oxygen, capturing carbon and keeping the home cooler during hot summer months. By following simple steps that the whole family can enjoy doing together, the back and front yard can work for the family.

Fertilize Naturally.  Lawns take up the largest amount of carbon when they recycle nitrogen contained in grass clippings. So, take off that mulcher bag and leave clippings on the ground while mowing to break down and feed your grass naturally.  And, how about applying some compost to your lawn in the Spring or Fall with your seed spreader?

Plant the Right Plant. It’s important to choose grass or plants that are right for the climate where you live.  Then, plants will need less water and fertilization to survive. Go to your local nursery or an online gardening site to find your climate zone to discover what plants are native and which will grow well in your area. For instance, if you live in a drought-prone area, select plants and grass that withstand heat and need less water.

Prune Regularly. A single grass plant can have 300 miles of roots. Roots grow strong with appropriate watering and proper pruning. Mowing your lawn regularly, similar to pruning perennial plants and flower gardens, keeps grass healthier and thicker.

Water Early.  Watering in the early morning before the sun is intense helps reduce the water lost from evaporation. Installing rain gutters and collecting water from downspouts also helps reduce water use. Trickle irrigation, drip irrigation or smart controller systems help reduce water use and meet the needs of plants. Or, when drought conditions exist, let the grass go dormant.

Create More Green Space. Lawns and other green spaces lessen the “heat island” effect, especially in urban areas, keeping surrounding areas cooler. Is there an area in your neighborhood that could benefit from some green space?  If so, plant a garden for tasty veggies or a lawn area for play and relaxation.