Having a green lawn is a highlight for gardeners during the spring and summer seasons.

How we care for our outdoor green spaces can make a big impact on the environment. By carefully choosing responsible alternatives to harmful pesticides and chemicals, you can enjoy having a lawn and garden that is both healthy and good for the environment.

First, start with the soil. Soil is the natural foundation to every lawn and garden. Each year your garden will benefit from improving the quality of the soil by adding compost to increase porosity and nutrient value.

Lawns naturally become compacted over the winter months. Aeration is a great way to refresh the soil in your lawn by allowing it to breathe naturally. By removing small plugs of earth, moisture and oxygen are able to reach the root system.

Remove thickened patches of thatch in your lawn with vigorous raking. These areas of a lawn can become difficult to manage as they often attract insects and inhibit adequate moisture flow to the roots of the grass.

In areas that are difficult to grow grass (such as underneath large trees) consider planting alternatives such as hardy perennial groundcovers or bark mulch.

Corn gluten, applied in the spring, is a great natural solution to crab grass and dandelion control.

Once you have added new soil, over-seed the lawn to thicken the grass and reduce weed growth. When purchasing lawn seed, consult your local garden centre to help you choose a seed that is right for your garden.

Depending on the size and condition of your lawn, you may need to purchase more than one variety. Lawn seed is available for full, partial and shady locations as well as for wet and dry areas.

When over-seeding the lawn, apply a fresh layer of seed (following the manufacturer’s instructions) and gently rake the seed into the soil. Anytime that you add seed to your lawn it is important to water for a minimum of three weeks following.

Whenever you are seeding or transplanting, fertilize with high phosphorus fertilizer until the new growth becomes well-established. At this time, you can then continue with a regular summer and fall fertilizing program.

Pests and bugs are a natural element to the garden … and they are not all bad. Some insects actually work toward maintaining a natural and harmonious balance. If bugs become a problem, try using all-natural “green” products in your garden. For controlling insects such as aphids, consider treating with an all-natural Neem oil foliar spray.

This year, why not try to create an eco-friendly surrounding in your garden? By avoiding harmful chemicals and pesticides, not only do you save money, you work to improve the natural health of your garden.

Going green is not only good for the plants; it’s good for your health and our environment.