Here I have combined sveral ways to Save the Planet by starting in your own back yard! And besides, who doesn't love sitting under a shady tree, swinging in a hammock or having somewhere for the kids to rest out of the hot summer sun?
Plants not only lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide habitats for wildlife; they can also lower home energy costs. Trees with high canopies on the west side of your property will provide shade from the afternoon sun. Shrubs that allow filtered light and breezes are appropriate for more localized shading of east- and west-facing windows. Deciduous trees and vines are useful on your homes southern side, providing cage to shade against the summer sun while allowing light warmth during winter. Be sure to shade your air conditioning unit. You can enjoy significant yearly savings in home heating and cooling costs by landscaping wisely.
Nature finds its balance in a complex network of mutual dependence, with each species providing several useful benefits to other flora and fauna. In natural forests there are several distinct layers of vegetation in which different animals live. Try to replicate this in your garden with a combination of tall trees (pines or sycamores, for instance), smaller trees and tall shrubs (maples, cherry trees, magnolias, hydrangeas, mountain laurel), shrubs (boxwood, junipers), ground cover (grasses and creepers), and a litter layer of leaf matter, fallen branches, logs, and rocks. Use terracotta pipes as substitutes for hollow logs to give small mammals and amphibians a place to hide from predators such as cats and dogs.
Between 60 and 70 percent of our treated drinking water is used to water lawns, and the average irrigated home lawn consumes more than 10,000 gallons of water each summer. Conserve water by replacing little-used grass areas, such as your front yard, with a native garden that reduces street noise and increases privacy. Putting mulch around plants and on lawns can cut the amount of water lost through evaporation by up to 70 percent Pine bark mulch can even be used for childrens play areas: It is just as safe as grass and requires no watering.