We recently moved into a new home where landscaping needs to be done–and soon to meet HOA guidelines. However, I am completely lost and confused with all the options and don’t know the best decision. Whatever we do choose it needs to meet these guidelines:
1. Be safe for my children and pets
2. Be environmental friendly
3. Work with the dry climate of Utah
4. Be affordable
5. Not have much upkeep since I am the one in charge of the lawn care in my home
After much research this is what I have learned and hopefully it will help me make a decision!
Having a real lawn in my state (Utah), let alone my city, will be n environmental nightmare. Using gas lawn mowers is very pollutant to the air and is one of my least favorite things to do or even pay someone to do. Why not consider AstroTurf? Using fertilizer, sometimes even an all natural kind, make our dogs very ill even after waiting the recommended time until they are allowed back on the lawn. It seems like the perfect solution; it is pretty expensive but looks beautiful. Will I be able to get over the fact that it is not real? That it makes a weird plastic “crunch” noise every time you walk through it? I have heard there might be unhealthy amounts of lead in AstroTurf so now I am on the lookout for an environmental friendly, all natural AstroTurf.
If we do or don’t decide to go with AstroTurf we can also “decorate” the lawn with plants. My state has some good recommendations for the process of choosing these plants:
- Identify individual existing species of plants and their particular needs for sunlight, water, soil, and nutrient conditions.
- Do not plant plants that are on the invasive plant list for your area/region. Remove invasive plants from your site.
- Using plants that grow locally makes your job of raising them easier as they are already accustomed to your local growing conditions.
- By using locally adapted or native plants you can reduce water needs to a minimum and eliminate the need for some irrigation systems in certain areas.
It is important when planning your landscaping that it be modified easily for your family as it grows, changes, etc. This means less work for you and less hurt to the environment . Planting deciduous, shade trees on the south and west side of the house can reduce summer cooling costs and lower energy consumption. Trees are also valuable in shading paved areas (streets, driveways, and terraces) to reduce the heat on your landscape, which would be important if I went with AstroTurf . In Utah we are also exposed to winter winds, so a tall evergreen windbreak planted on the windward side of the home can reduce heating bills and energy consumption.
My husband is a dog trainer and we have dogs of our own so cleaning up after them is a huge part of our daily routine. And since our lawn must carry the “scent” of dogs it attracts all of the neighbors’ dogs that escape from their homes or are (annoyingly) roaming free. Droppings from dogs and cats and from other commonly kept animals like exotic birds, rabbits, lizards, goats and chickens may contain bacteria, parasites, nutrients, or viruses that are a health risk to other pets and people, especially children. If pet waste is washed into a storm drain it can end up in a lake, river, creek or coastal waters. Pet waste is a contaminant in many streams and rivers. Keep pet waste away from gardens, ditches, storm drains and waterways. Dispose of pet waste by placing it in the garbage can or pet waste digester (available at pet stores). Do not use pet waste for compost. Always carry a bag and scooper when walking a pet to clean up after them. Do not leave pet waste on driveways, sidewalks, or surfaces where it can wash into storm drains, streams, or waterways.
Writing this article has given me lots of ideas, better educated me in this area and hopefully will help me come to a decision! Any suggestions?