7 Steps to a Healthy Yard
Shrink the Lawn
Most lawns are maintained with a lot of water, chemicals and loud, gas-guzzling machinery. For a healthier yard, shrink or remove your lawn. Add or expand garden beds, and fill them with native trees, shrubs, flowering perennials and bunch grasses that benefit bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife.
If you decide to keep some lawn, mow and water it less often. Switch to an electric mower or a reel mower to reduce pollution and noise.
Create Healthy Soil
Soil in urban and suburban yards is often compacted and depleted of nutrients. When your soil is compacted, it’s harder for roots to grow and for water to soak in. Depleted soil lacks nutrients that plants need.
Leave fallen leaves to decompose and keep your soil healthy.
Avoid using weed barrier (landscape fabric), as it blocks air, water and organic matter from reaching the roots of your plants. It also prevents insects (like ants and beetles) from aerating your soil.
Grow Native Plants
Our local bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife are dependent on our native plants for survival.
Native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil, so they will thrive with minimal watering, once established. They don't require fertilizers or constant pruning, so they are low-maintenance.
Replace non-native shrubs like burning bush and barberry with lovely native shrubs like serviceberry, golden currant and ocean spray.
Pesticides kill bees, butterflies, dragonflies and other beneficial insects. Avoid pesticides and allow predator insects to keep garden pests (like aphids, mites and thrips) under control.
Avoid weed & feed products, as they contaminate our water supply. To keep your yard weed-free, use hand-tools to pull weeds.
Rodent poison kills owls, hawks, coyotes and other predators, so avoid using any type of rodent poison.
Ban the Leaf Blower
Leaf blowers kill insects like bumblebees, butterflies and ladybugs that use fallen leaves for winter shelter or spring nesting sites.
Leaf blowers erode the soil in your garden and damage roots that are close to the surface.
They also remove the leaves and other organic matter that are necessary for healthy soil. When you constantly blow away all the leaves, you kill the beneficial microbes in the soil by starving them to death.
Our water supply is limited. Over-watering harms wild fish and other animals that depend on the river for survival.
Don't water your yard every day or every other day. It's a waste of water and is not good for most plants.
Replace lawn and other water-loving plants with native trees, shrubs, flowering perennials and bunch grasses. Our native plants need less water, once established.
Share the Space
Bees, butterflies, birds and other critters need safe places to shelter and raise their young.
Leave dead and dying trees if safe to do so, or remove the crown and leave the trunk. Create a brush pile. Place logs and stumps around your yard to create wildlife habitat and provide nutrients for your soil.
Grow native trees, shrubs, flowering perennials and bunch grasses, as they provide food, shelter and nesting sites for a wide range of wildlife.