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Bankrate's 2007 Living Green, Saving Green Guide
Green tomorrows
A penny of prevention is worth a dollar of cure.
Green tomorrows
  Green remodeling
Patio / landscaping
Idea 1:
Native plants
It's easy to love the wide green expanses of turf grass, but the amount of water, pesticides and fertilizers needed to maintain that lush lawn is expensive, and often harmful to the water supply. Minimize this type of grass in favor of plants and shrubs native to your area. To get some ideas, you can find your native plant society at
Common rule of thumb dictates that you'll spend about 10 percent of the cost of your home. Some cities offer residents free trees, mulch and compost.
Idea 2:
Smart irrigation systems
To save water, use weather-smart irrigation systems that have a rain sensor and zoned irrigation so you don't overwater areas of your lawn. Not only will these devices save water, but they may improve the health of your plants, since excess water can make plants more susceptible to disease and insect infestations.
Rain sensors cost between $20 and $100; zoned irrigation systems run from $50 to more than $200.
Idea 3:
Rain barrels
Placing a rain barrel at the bottom of your downspouts can catch enough runoff to water your potted plants and vegetable gardens; the recycled water is free and will reduce your water use. In some areas, the rain barrels can help the environment by helping prevent erosion and sedimentation.
$100-$250; many cities and water departments will offer rain barrels for free or for a small charge.
Idea 4:
Reel mowers
If you've got a small yard, a manual reel mower will eliminate gas or electric power used in a typical mower. While it may require a bit of muscle, newer push mowers are lighter and easier to handle. The other bonus? No motor means no noise, so you can mow at the crack of dawn without worrying about waking up the neighbor -- and think of the calories you'll burn!
A good mower will cost $100 to $225 and you will save $15 to $25 a year in fuel costs.
-- Posted: Oct. 4, 2007
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