Developing a greener green thumb - Metro US

Developing a greener green thumb

If you’re a gardener or planning on landscaping this spring, be prepared to take a nature-friendly approach — if you haven’t done so already.

Here are some of the nature-oriented landscaping and gardening trends that have become increasingly more evident over the last few years, and will be noticeably stronger this spring.

Lawns: Lawns going, going, gone? Grass is becoming less popular because it’s not an environmentally-friendly option, since it sucks back a lot of water, requires cutting (usually with a gas-powered lawnmower), and the occasional dosing of fertilizer or bug killer.

Forest look: Natural-looking plantings are in, so the yard looks like a meadow, or a forest floor. Manicured gardens and lawns are out.

Local: Native plants and shrubs are appearing, rather than non-native plants that require extra watering, pest control and other ministrations. Low-maintenance flowers and other plants that grow without any help from us in local meadows and fields are appearing in gardens.

Decks and patios: To enjoy natural settings, decks or patios are a must. Natural stone pavers are appearing more often, with sand between them, to encourage drainage. Porous pavers are also appearing on the market, with the goal of allowing rainwater to soak into the soil. And don’t forget the substantial, durable and comfortable outdoor furniture.

Growing food: Vegetable gardens are coming back with a vengeance. Rising food prices have made them more popular, as well as a wish to eat fresh organic foods.

Pests: Some of the old-fashioned pest control methods that use spices such as cayenne, citrus oil or crushed mint are making a comeback. (There are a ton of natural pest control solutions on the internet.)

Mulch: Mulch is big. It’s a natural way to keep the soil around plants cool, damp, and it inhibits the growth of weeds.

Sylvia Putz is a journalist with an interest in decor and design. She’s written for the TV show Arresting Design; sputz@arrestingdesign.com.

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