BayScaping focuses on the use of native plants, and is a
good idea for both the environment and for the
for the Environment
landscape provides little food or
shelter for wildlife.
and other wildlife have three basic requirements: food, water
and shelter. Lawn does not make good habitat for
birds, beneficial insects, or most any kind of wildlife.
When we replace lawn area with a variety of trees, shrubs,
and perennials, the structure, leaves, flowers, seeds, berries
and other fruits of these plants provide food and shelter
for a variety of wildlife. There are added benefits to using native
Water Quality and Quantity
manage approximately 50 million acres of lawn. Conventional lawns
and gardens often require high maintenance and receive large inputs
of pesticides, fertilizers, water and time, and require a lot of
energy—human as well as gas-powered—to maintain. A yard with 10,000
square feet of turf requires 10,000 gallons of water per summer
to stay green. When we replace portions of our lawn with native
trees, shrubs and perennials, we reduce the amount of chemicals
and water we need to use. We also reduce the amount of excess water
that runs off our properties during rain events.
our yards and gardens, we tend to over-apply products, using 100 million
tons of fertilizer and more than 80 million pounds of pesticides annually.
When it rains these chemicals often find their way into our local waterways,
and have impacts in the rivers and waterbodies downstream as well.
Credit: Heidi Natura, Conservation Research Institute
roots of Kentucky Blue Grass (far left) are much shallower
the rest of these perennials. Click on drawing for larger image.
rooted plants, such as most trees, shrubs and perennials, are able
to make better use of rain water than typical lawn grasses, and so require less watering once established. They
are also better at trapping and removing nitrogen and pollutants
from rain water so that it is not released into nearby waterbodies.
By replacing some of our lawn area with deep rooted plants, we can have a positive impact on water quality.
volume of water that runs into storm drains in most urban
and suburban areas during rain and snow melt events also has negative
effects on our rivers, lakes and streams. Storm drains generally flow directly to these waterways. The high volume of water, and resulting force
gouges out the stream channel, destroying habitat for fish and the
plants and aquatic insects they depend upon. This water is also
generally a higher temperature than water that has trickled slowly
into surface waters through natural areas. When we allow run-off
from roofs, driveways and sidewalks to be filtered by the vegetation on our properties, we can reduce
the volume and temperature of the water that reaches our local waterbodies.
great way to reduce the volume of water that leaves your property
(and to save money on your water bill!) is to install rain
barrels under your downspouts. This prevents the captured water from leaving your property during rain events, and the water collected in the barrels
can be used later to water lawns and gardens as necessary.
For more information on BayScaping for water conservation, read BayScaping to Conserve Water - A Homeowner's Guide
gas-powered engines used for yard care—mowers, trimmers, blowers—are
inefficient and lack the emission controls that car and other larger
addition to all the water quality and wildlife
benefits of BayScaping, reducing high maintenance lawn areas saves gas
and thereby benefits air quality.
for the Gardener
BayScaped gardens save us both time and money. BayScaped gardens
require less regular maintanence than conventional lawns and gardens.
BayScapes are more interesting than lawn, and the use of native plants creates a sense of place. The birds,
butterflies, and other interesting wildlife that a BayScape attracts
are an added bonus.
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