These days, we’re all looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and to contribute to a greener planet. But given the extent of the problems and the vast amount of information out there, where does one begin?

Going green doesn’t need to be overwhelming – in fact, once you adopt a few eco-friendly habits, you’ll find yourself naturally gravitating toward green choices in the future.

Read on for six easy tips to get you started on a greener life in your yard and garden.

Know where your food comes from by growing it yourself!

Green Tip #1: Grow Something Edible

Looking for a nice blooming perennial? Try rosemary. Need a deciduous shrub? Plant some blueberry bushes. Even if you don’t have room for a vegetable garden, you can incorporate edible plants into your landscape and enjoy the satisfaction of growing and harvesting your own food.

Why? Organic, locally-grown, seasonal food is healthier, cheaper, and drastically reduces the fossil fuels required to transport commercially grown produce around the globe. In addition, planting even one thing (such as growing tomatoes in a container on your patio) will change the way you think about your food, which will make you a smarter, more eco-friendly shopper in the future.

Worm poop isn’t romantic, but it’s great for your lawn.

Green Tip #2: Buy Only Organic Products

Simply refuse to buy synthetic or chemical fertilizers, weed killers, and pest control products. These products are directly toxic to you and your family, and their runoff is responsible for water pollution, oceanic dead zones, and animal extinction. Certified organic options are available that cause far less harm to your garden’s ecosystem and the planet as a whole.

Why? This one is twofold. Not only will you make a real difference in the environment by not using toxic chemicals, but the extra expense of organic products will help you reevaluate whether you need so many products at all. The more you ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” the more the answer will be “No.”

My favorite tools are the quiet ones, like hand tools.

Green Tip #3: Use a Little Elbow Grease

Instead of reaching for the leaf blower, pick up the rake and burn off a few of those extra holiday calories. Rather than grabbing the weed whacker, pick up a pair of gloves and pruning shears.

Why? You’ll get exercise and fresh air, and you’ll feel happier and more connected to your patch of earth. In addition, manual labor is the world’s most effective cure for perfectionism! Soon, you’ll naturally discover that a relaxed, organic, thoughtfully planned garden takes much less work to maintain than those chemically doused, mechanically trimmed, “perfect” landscapes.

Upgrade your tools while downgrading your fuel usage.

Green Tip #4: Upgrade to Eco-Friendly Tools

As you upgrade your garden tools, resolve to choose only eco-friendly ones. Replace gas-burning power tools with low-emission propane (greener than gasoline powered), electric/rechargeable (greener yet, especially if you recharge using wind or solar power), or manual (the greenest of all, burning only calories!). Avoid cheap plastic hand tools, instead choose high quality wood and steel tools that will last a lifetime.

Why? The only way to contribute to global change is to support the manufacture and sale of eco-friendly products. You don’t have to throw everything away, but make a vow never again to buy a tool that harms the planet.

Composting turns your breakfast scraps into next year’s veggies.

Green Tip #5: Start a Compost Pile

Even if you don’t have much space, you can have a small compost pile in a corner or a space-saving compost bin on your patio. Resolve that you will never again put raw food scraps or yard debris into a trash bag, and watch the magic of “garbage” being turned into rich, organic earth.

Why? Compost and compost tea are far more potent plant-boosters than anything you can buy in the store. In addition compost enriches the soil, reducing your need for fertilizers of any kind And as you recycle your garbage into the landscape, you’ll become more conscious of how much waste your family produces and lean toward compostable, recyclable, and reusable products.

Drip irrigation is a great way to reduce water use in your yard.

Green Tip #6: Stop Wasting Water

Install drip irrigation and soaker hoses to water only the plants that require it, buy or make a rain barrel for hand watering, and stop routinely over irrigating your landscape. Learn which plants are tolerant of your natural rainfall, and rely heavily on native plants for landscape design.

Why? Drought is an increasingly troubling side effect of climate change, and many communities are imposing restrictions on watering. As you seek out drought-tolerant and native plants, you’ll become more aware of the amount of water it takes to grow many popular landscape plants, and begin spending more time enjoying your garden and less time maintaining it.

Further Information

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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