Whether you’re starting a garden for the first time or simply looking for ways to make your landscape more eco-friendly, 630 Naperville has you covered with sustainable tips from Jim Kleinwachter, who manages the Conservation@Home program for the Naperville-based Conservation Foundation.
1) Incorporate native plants into your Naperville landscape
One of the easiest ways to create a more environmentally friendly landscape is by incorporating plants native to the Naperville region into outdoor spaces. Native plants are known to be hardy, resistant, and able to thrive in conditions that may be difficult for non-native species. Planting native plants also supports local wildlife, birds, butterflies, and other pollinators by providing diverse habitats and food sources.
Kleinwachter urged Naperville residents to consider native plants in their landscape because they are just as pretty and serve a greater purpose. “The idea is that by changing the plants from stuff from that was in Europe or China and putting in the stuff from our area, you’re not going to lose beauty, and you’re going to gain function,” said Kleinwachter.
2) Collecting and conserving water on your property
Reducing your water usage and waste is one of the easiest ways you can make your landscape more sustainable. Stormwater runoff from your property can be collected through the use of rain barrels. The captured water can then be used for gardens, lawns, or even watering indoor plants. Rain barrels are a great way to collect the runoff that would otherwise be lost. Installing one is simple, affordable, and a great way to collect and conserve water.
Kleinwachter said, “The big message we’re trying to bring to people is that water is a resource. Typically we’re thinking of water as being a waste product and how do I get it out of my yard? It’s puddling over here and other problems. So we try to turn that around, and say the rainwater that is collected is much better for the dogs and the plants…”
If Naperville residents are interested in installing a rain barrel, the Conservation Foundation has an affordable variety available for purchase year-round. The 55-gallon rain barrels can be picked up at McDonald Farm in Naperville, with home delivery available for an additional charge.
3) Composting turns spoils into rich soil
Composting is a simple way to take waste and turn it into something that will improve the structure and health of the soil. Composting creates nutrient-rich natural fertilizer from things like food scraps, paper, and yard waste that can be added to your garden or landscaping. Composting is an efficient way to recycle while generating a valuable byproduct that nourishes plants for healthy growth. Many resources are available for those looking to get into composting.
Kleinwachter mentioned the compost barrels available through the Conservation Foundation and how easy the composting process is, “It’s as simple as collecting your kitchen scraps and putting them in a container with a lid, all the kitchen scraps, yard waste, leaves, sticks, and debris can all go in the composter and it turns it into rich organic material that can be used in your garden beds, in your flower gardens, even where the grass is not growing well, it’s usually compacted clay and the organic material helps enrich the soil.”
If you are interested in learning more about plants native to Illinois, collecting and conserving water on your property, and getting the dirt on composting, contact the Conservation Foundation.