Diverse Urban Gardens
Some facts about how we impact our environment and
the way we do things in Sacramento front yard gardens.
- Sacramento has air quality problems. Mowing a lawn for one hour with a gas mower pollutes the air as much as driving a car 350 miles! The use of gasoline engine landscape care equipment (blowers, edgers, mowers) could be reduced by planting diverse landscapes. Conventional landscape equipment creates 5% of the nation's air pollution.
- Stormwater runoff from turf is one of America's biggest sources of water pollution. And Americans put more than 100 million pounds of chemicals on their conventional turf landscapes each year, which is ten times as many chemicals per acre as industrial farmland.
- With Global Warming, water issues and shortages will become more common. Sacramento is installing water meters on all city residences. In the Western US, watering lawns consumes 60% of municipal freshwater and water transport accounts for Sacramento's greatest use of energy.
- Residential Green Waste Collection cost the City of Sacramento over $8 million in 2007.
Most conventional landscapes produce greater amounts of green waste than diverse landscapes.
- Lawns cover more land than any other single irrigated crop in the U.S.
- Average urban gardens can produce several hundred pounds of food a year, and supplement family food budgets with affordable, fresh, and nutritious food.
- Diverse front yard landscapes help beautify our city, as well as help with environmental issues and make Sacramento a more sustainable city.
Diversity in the Community
Just as we value our cultural diversity, we must value diversity in our urban landscapes. Consider the value to our community that diverse gardens can provide.
Gardening promotes community as families and neighbors share their experiences as well as their garden bounty. Families learn together and work together for a common goal. Gardening allows many people to develop an acceptance of different ideas and practices and helps develop a sense of peace and tranquillity.
The reason why this is stimulated is simple, gardening softens the mood and does away with stress. There is little chance those gardeners are going to make trouble with alcohol, drugs or violence and that saves money that does not have to be spent on extra services. One city in Belgium went so far as to give out free laying hens to everyone who wanted them; limited to two per family and supplied food for the chickens free. Courses were given about composting the waste and making use of that for growing food. And it works - drug use and violence drops with such initiatives.
Why diverse urban landscapes are
so important . . .
Why are we asking that you support diverse landscaping in front yard gardens? Other than, we would be "walking the talk" of our own goals as a city, it makes good sense for Sacramento to embrace diverse front yard landscaping. Many commercial landscapers seem to already have embraced this concept, probably because it enhances the value of the residential or commercial property and for ease of maintenance, if not for the environmental reasons.
What will happen now that our city updated the old 1941 ordinance and now supports diverse landscaping in front yard gardens? A few people may replace their lawns to plant diverse gardens with annual and perennial ornamentals, as well as some fruits and/or vegetables. Most people will not replace their lawns. There may be many people who will widen their perennial and annual beds into the lawn area. Many homeowners are already doing this.
There may be some residents who will hire a landscaper to install drip lines and design a more unique and colorfully diverse perennial garden. Several will do this so they don't have to pay to have their lawns mowed and maintained weekly, or to start saving water in lieu of water meters, or just because they think it looks more beautiful than a Bermuda grass lawn that turns brown in the winter.
Some residents may want to help the environment in their own front yard with water conserving landscapes, or just enhance the value of their property with beautiful landscaping.
Whatever personal reasons a homeowner has for making changes in their front yard landscaping, they will be enhancing their neighborhood and our city. How can we not, but support diverse front yard gardens?
In a biological sense, the more different kinds of plants the better. Native forests, meadows and prairies are species rich, while our yards, featuring turf and a few shade trees, are not. To improve the ecology around our homes, we must approximate the natural diversity and plant more species.
Avid gardeners seldom have trouble with numbers of plants, because we want to grow everything. But some non-native species are invasive and over time crowd out plants thus decreasing biodiversity.
Native species and non-invasive exotics together can enhance the biodiversity of our yards. These are indeed important reasons for diversity, but it also makes good sense to grow flowers among one's edible plants for practical reasons which appeal to anyone who truly embraces the organic philosophy - and the many reasons connected with insect presence both friendly and unfriendly . . . . Long live diversity!
More examples of diverse front yard gardens:
Diverse front yard garden pics.pdf
Mole Hill Lane.pdf