10 Ways You Can Save the Planet On Earth Day – and Everyday

Love the Earth and make your home and neighborhood a better, healthier place with these landscaping, lawn care and gardening tips. Let these serve to inspire change to live a "greener" lifestyle. Share what you learn with others and make a real difference every day.

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photos: Christopher Shane/Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: ProvenWinners.com

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: iStockPhoto/Maxim Kostenko

Reduce Food Waste by Composting

Cut down on the amount of food waste you dispose of by adopting the at-home practice of composting. It won’t take too long to create a nutrient-rich soil that can be given back to the earth and supplement your garden. Find out more about composting on DIYNetwork.com.

Install a Rain Barrel

Attach a rain barrel to your home’s downspout to collect roof runoff. The "free" water is perfect to reuse in the garden or around the yard. Rain barrels require only a few parts and can easily be assembled yourself — some towns even offer rain barrel programs and will supply you with the barrel and all of the components at low- or no-cost! Learn how to make a rain barrel.

Use Natural Wood Chips or Needles for Mulch

As much as you might fawn over color-rich bagged mulch, there’s something to be said for using materials from your own environment to keep weeds at bay. Pine needle mulch, autumn leaves, and natural wood chips are all excellent options to use year-round. You may even be able to obtain wood chips free from your local municipality if they take care of clearing fallen trees throughout the community. Which mulch is best for your garden?

Choose Natural Fertilizers and Organic Nutrients for Your Garden Soil

Opt for chemical-free plant food and soil additives for your garden. While many inorganic store-bought products will help produce big, healthy plants that'll surely make you proud, they can also be void of certain nutrients and microorganisms that the soil needs to stay healthy. Furthermore, rainwater runoff from some inorganic fertilizers can be dangerous for pets, kids, and it also contributes to polluting larger bodies of water. There is a lot to learn about fertilizer, but when you must incorporate store-bought nutrients, always look carefully at the ingredients and choose a fertilizer that is organic, not synthetic.

Make Your Own Natural Wood Stain

When you soak steel wool (#000) in apple cider vinegar, it dissolves into a rich, eco-friendly wood stain that’s perfect for indoor or outdoor applications. If you’re using it indoors, no need to wear a respirator and ventilation isn’t necessary, that is unless you despise the smell of salt and vinegar chips. Opt for this DIY Earth-friendly alternative that, as it dries, turns wood into a mocha-brown color. Interested? Find out how to make wood stain on DIYNetwork.com.

Avoid Gas/Oil – Use Battery-Powered Tools

The increasing availability of battery-operated lawn tools is a benefit for homeowners who want powerful alternatives to common gas/oil-fueled machines. They’re also quiet, lightweight and emission-free to help make your yard (and neighborhood) a healthier, more peaceful place. Almost all yard maintenance tools have a battery-operated version — lawn mowers, string trimmers, rototillers and chainsaws so powerful that you'll be able to cut logs and branches all afternoon on a single battery charge.

Choose Native Flowers and Trees

Before you get inspired to pick a little-bit-of-this and a-little-bit-of-that for your home’s landscape, do your research and learn what native plants thrive in your area. Native plants naturally support wildlife, are able to adapt to climate and seasons, and are more apt to thrive in your specific soil conditions. Plants that are not native may or may not do well — but when they do very, very well, they can also do harm, such as suffocate native species, damage soil, and become irreversibly invasive. Learn more about native plants for the Northwest, South East, Midwest and South West.

Share Seeds and Transplants

Seed sharing with neighbors or through local co-ops is a great way to spread the love of gardening and introduce new plants to others. Always consider harvesting seeds from native plants and flowers, and make it a habit to also save some seeds from fruits and vegetables when your garden is in full production during the summer. Some perennials benefit from being divided every 3-5 years to prevent overcrowding, and the individual sections can usually be transplanted and continue to thrive at a new home. Learn more about the process of dividing plants on DIYNetwork.com.

Naturally Repel Bugs

Thwart infestations around your property by taking preventative action. If your kitchen is prone to attracting ants, or your backyard is a magnet for moles, do research to learn what scents or soil additives may naturally make them change their course. By choosing natural ingredients instead of powerful bug and insect repellants, you can keep harsh chemicals away from where you eat, sleep and play. Learn how to keep insects out of your home, but then (before you get too itchy) take a deep breath and learn more about garden-friendly bugs that you do want hanging around.

Opt for Natural Weed Killers

Keep weed-killing chemicals out of your garden by diligently managing unwanted weeds as they sprout from the soil. Boiling water, Acetic acid, and plain ol' weeding by hand can keep unwanted growth from taking over your landscape. Learn more about organic approaches to weed control by visiting DIYNetwork.com.

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