Learn About Lawn Care

At EcoWatch, we're all about finding sustainable solutions to homeowner headaches — including lawn care. Learn about eco-friendlier options here.

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Why Lawns?

At EcoWatch, we’re focused on helping our readers make the best decisions possible to improve the health of the environment — even through something as unsustainable as lawn care. But, the truth is, many of our readers live in areas where uniform lawns are mandated either by cities or homeowners associations. 

Can one person changing their lawn care routine make that much of a difference? Perhaps not, but it can create a ripple effect of small actions that quickly add up to a big impact. Maybe you influence a neighbor to use the same sustainable lawn service you do or buy an electric mower or start composting. Maybe you get the community involved in tending to your backyard garden.

Credit: EPA

Or maybe you’re simply one household doing the best it can for the environment by choosing a more sustainable alternative to traditional lawn care. Here’s why even that is important:

  • Three million tons of nitrogen-based, chemical fertilizers are spread on lawns each year.1
  • Lawns take up over 40 million acres of land in the U.S., making grass the nation’s largest irrigated crop.2
  • U.S. homeowners use about 70 million pounds of pesticides for lawn maintenance annually.3
  • Landscape irrigation takes up about a third of all residential water use, adding up to close to 9 billion gallons per day.4
  • Gasoline-powered lawn equipment has accounted for about 12% of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. in a single year.5

As you can see, the impacts of practicing sustainable lawn care aren’t insignificant.

What Makes Lawn Care Service More Sustainable?

Americans pay over $30 billion for lawn care each year.6 Where should you spend your dollars? To get more sustainable lawn services, look for a company that:

  • Doesn’t use toxic pesticides
  • Uses only organic fertilizers
  • Uses pre-emergent weed control
  • Grows regionally favorable grasses
  • Conducts soil tests to ensure you’re getting the right services
  • Uses electric mowers, hedgers and trimmers

Editorial Contributors

How to Make DIY Lawn Care More Eco-Friendly

If you’re not interested in hiring a company to do the dirty work for you, there are plenty of ways to make your DIY lawn maintenance eco-friendlier. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Plant native plants
  • Use organic fertilizers and 
  • Use compost to improve your soil
  • Do a soil test to make sure you aren’t missing any nutrients
  • Invest in electric mowers and other tools
  • Let fallen leaves be a natural insulator rather than raking them up, and leave grass clippings on your lawn
  • Sweep any walkways with a broom rather than spraying them with a hose
  • Plant a pollinator or vegetable garden
  • Water plants in the morning or late afternoon when the water won’t evaporate in the heat of the sun
  • Install a smart controller or rain sensor to improve your irrigation system

In the lawn care company guides linked on this page, you’ll see our top recommendations for eco-friendlier lawn products and services. To get connected with a lawn care company in your area right away, you can click here.

More On Lawns & Gardens

6 Ways to Transform Your Lawn Into an Eco-Friendly Oasis

Looking for ways to make your lawn care routine more sustainable? We give you ideas including:

  • No-mow zones
  • Ditching pesticides and fertilizers
  • Embracing your local bugs
  • Planting native plants
  • And more

Click below to see all of our tips.

9 Vegetables You Can Grow (Almost) Anywhere

If you’re adding a garden to your lawn or are just interested in growing your own food, we break down the veggies that can thrive in many environments, including:

  • Leafy greens
  • Tomatoes and potatoes
  • Peppers and onions
  • And more

Click below to see what you can grow.