You can reduce your carbon footprint, no matter where you live. The secret to an eco-friendly backyard is working with nature and making some simple lifestyle changes.

Follow these tips to save water, electricity, money and time.

Apple tree, as seen close up
Apples are perennials, meaning you plant them once and they grow year after year. (DepositPhotos)

1. Plant Perennials

If you’ve planted a fruit or vegetable garden, this routine is all too familiar: You till the earth, buy and place starter plants, and weed and water the area.

When the season is over, your plants die, and you have to start all over again next year.

Though it may save you a little money, and come with the satisfaction of growing your own food, it’s a lot of work. And not very eco-friendly!

With perennials, you plant them once and they bloom year after year. You will, however, want to keep weeding your garden, unless your perennials are bushes and trees.

Here are some easy-to-grow perennial fruits:

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

And here are some perennial vegetables:

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli (only certain varieties like Nine Star or Purple Cape)
  • Egyptian Wandering Onion
  • Radicchio
  • Rhubarb

These perennial herbs can spice up your cooking:

  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Horseradish
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary

Marigolds, pictured during the summertime
Marigolds produce more nectar than other flowers, and pollen is easily accessible to honeybees. (DepositPhotos)

2. Plant Native

Choosing plants that thrive in your area is a great way to accent your eco-friendly yard, grow healthy plants and positively impact local wildlife.

For instance, honey-bee populations are suffering from years of pesticide use, and this affects our local farmers and crops.

Consider planting flowers that bees use for making honey. For instance, daises and marigolds produce more nectar than double-headed flowers and provide easy access to pollen.

Best of all? You may even attract beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden!

Woman adds food scraps to her composting bin, as seen close up, in her eco-friendly backyard.
Composing is a great way to reuse food scraps and improve your garden. (DepositPhotos)

3. Make Compost

Composting reduces waste in landfills and reuses your food scraps to give soil nutrients, increase your harvest, and promote healthier flowers and plants. Talk about a triple threat!

Composting can also reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, improve water retention and increase soil drainage. Very eco-friendly!

You can purchase a composter or start a compost pile in a corner of your yard. Then add leaves, grass clippings, eggshells, used coffee grounds, fruit and veggie scraps, and tea bags.

Don’t add meat scraps, dairy products or leftover meals.

Stir your compost occasionally and water it as needed.

Upcycled water jug used as DIY sprinkler for watering plants
Avoid watering delicate leaves and flowers, and just soak the ground.

4. Water When Optimal

During the hottest parts of the day, water will evaporate before giving your plants the soak they need.

The best time to water your plants is in the morning, so they can absorb the maximum amount of water.

You can also water them in the afternoon, but do so before evening so they can dry, which will reduce the chance of mold and fungus growth.

Water can damage some plants when the sun beats down through the droplets onto the plant’s delicate cells. So, avoid watering the leaves and flowers and just soak the ground.

Closeup of a solar-powered landscape light, as seen during the day in an eco-friendly backyard
Solar-powered lights turn on at dusk, look great on your lawn and reduce the electricity you need. (DepositPhotos)

5. Use Solar-Powered Lights

Solar-powered walkway lights, overhead string lights, and decor items will turn your space into a whimsical — and eco-friendly! — fairy garden your whole family can enjoy.

These lights automatically turn on at dusk and — bonus! — using them will reduce the amount of electricity you need.

Raking leaves onto a tarp
Hold off on raking leaves; they provide nutrients for your grass. Instead, mulch them to reap their benefits.

6. Don’t Rake Leaves, Mulch Them

Dead leaves provide nutrients for your grass, so there’s no need to rake them up right away! However, too many leaves covering the yard will affect grass growth.

When it’s time, use a mulching lawn mower or a leaf vacuum with mulching attachments.

Additionally, save those bonfire ashes to sprinkle on your garden; these will add extra nutrients. But be careful — too much ash can damage plants, as it contains lye.

Creating an eco-friendly backyard is a satisfying hobby, and it results in a more sustainable garden that saves money and resources.

How do you keep your backyard eco-friendly? Tell us in the comments!

Watch the video above to find out more.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for 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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