It’s well known that San Diego has great weather. In fact the city regularly tops lists of the best places to live because of the wonderful climate. A Zillow report, using data from NOAA, calculated an average of 261 pleasant days a year, which is roughly 72% of the time. With so much lovely weather to soak up, San Diego homeowners are wise to make the most of their outdoor space by creating livable environments that are low maintenance - so you can spend more time enjoying the outdoors than doing yard work.
By landscaping with eco-friendly design, your yard will be more in step with the environment and actually much easier to maintain because you won’t be fighting against the laws of nature. Here’s a few ideas for eco-friendly outdoor living including clever designs for landscapes that are useful as well as beautiful to look at.
Grow an Edible Landscape
A vegetable garden is a wonderful addition to any backyard, but did you know there’s lots of edible plants that look great when integrated into your landscape? Herbs like chives and sage are easy-to-grow perennials that make pretty purple flowers, attract beneficial insects, and look right at home tucked among a flower garden within easy reach of your kitchen door. You can also plant vining fruits like grapes or hardy kiwi along fences or arbors to create additional shade alongside patios and decks. Fruit trees and bushes can add height and interest to the edges of your yard, and nasturtiums are an easy-to-grow edible flower that provide a splash of bright color to any corner of your yard and are a spicy addition to a summer salad.
Plant Native Plants & Perennials
Rather than fussing over temperamental flowers and shrubs, landscape with native plants that are well-suited for the San Diego climate and need less attention to thrive. Coyote brush is a tough shrub that needs little water, can help stabilize slopes, and attract all kinds of butterflies and beneficial insects. Plant California fuchsia to add a splash of color.
Install a Natural Swimming Pool
Traditional swimming pools require lots of maintenance and chemicals to keep them clean and pleasant for your backyard enjoyment. As an alternative, consider installing a natural pool that utilizes shallow plants in the pool perimeter as filters for contaminants and bacteria, eliminating the need for chlorine and costly filters and pumps. Or if you already have a traditional pool, there are innovative eco-conscious pool upgrades you can make to save time and money on maintenance while being gentle on the environment, too.
Create a Rain Garden
Instead of battling erosion or living with unsightly drain spouts in areas prone to rain runoff during our rare rainy days, build a rain garden. Study your yard for the low-lying areas that tend to get soggy during wet weather and landscape with native grasses, river rocks and plants that tolerate moisture to create an attractive, natural riverbed that looks great in any weather.
Put Trees to Work
You may have never given much thought to the placement of trees in your yard other than what looks nice where. But thoughtful placement of trees can actually provide significant benefit to your home’s utility costs, too. A row of trees or shrubs can create a windbreak to keep stiff breezes from carrying away heat from your home in the winter. And the rest of the year, the leafy shade from well-placed trees can lower the cooling costs for your home. Don’t think about creating a livable outdoor space as conquering nature, think about it as living in harmony with the outside environment. Soon you’ll find yourself doing less yard work and more outdoor living.