Have you thought about your yard lately? I mean REALLY thought about it? Are you getting all the environmental, social and aesthetic benefits that you could from the place you call home?
Ideas about how to change the American Lawn are frequently discussed in the context of “messy or neat” but it’s worth digging deeper to figure out an approach that is more healthful for you, your family, and the other organisms we share this planet with. With careful planning, you can really “have it all” and in the process, improve your little slice of the planet.
In my job, I am focused on stormwater runoff and promoting things like rain gardens and native plant (conservation) landscapes as ways individuals can do their part as they rethink their yard from a stock of grass and foundation plants into a more holistic environment for living. I recently talked about it with Kim Eierman on her ecobeneficial podcast. Through training a cadre of local professionals and providing incentives (locally funded!), the RainScapes program in Montgomery County, MD is helping individuals revamp their yards into spaces that capture and treat their stormwater, provide valuable habitat for local flora and fauna and look great too.
Performance landscapes, whether you are “Planting in a Post-Wild World” or “Bringing Nature Home” are the key to all of this. Landscape architects, environmentally oriented Horticulturists and others designing gardens for life know this. We need more pros to spread the approach.
Start at home. Dream big and start small. Rethink your yard and help others do that too.
By Ann English, RainScapes Program Manager, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection