Sunday, September 4, 2011

Eco-friendly Gardening Increases Property Values

by Janet Marinelli

Recent studies demonstrate that eco-friendly gardening practices not only can reduce utility and maintenance costs but also increase property values.

When Laura Sampson and her husband Chris moved into their Clermont, Florida, home in 1998, they wanted a beautiful lawn and curb appeal, just like everyone else. They filled their garden with the plants they wanted, but not the species best suited to their central Florida climate. To keep their garden alive, the couple used chemical weed killers and fertilizers. One day they sprayed herbicide in a large planting bed and a small rabbit came running out. Later that day they found a small rabbit dead in their yard. “This was the first time we visibly saw the repercussion of our actions,” says Laura. “We decided then and there to become a friend to our own ecosystem.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average U.S. household uses about 30 percent of its water outdoors. In arid areas, the figure may be as high as 70 percent. Using native plants appropriate for a property can reduce outdoor water use by 20 to 50 percent, reports the agency. In addition, strategic planting of trees and shrubs to cast cooling shade in summer and insulate against cold winter winds can slash the amount a homeowner spends to heat and cool a home by as much as 40 percent. Read the entire article.

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