Sunday, July 17, 2011

Native Gardens = $ For Homeowners

Recent studies demonstrate that eco-friendly gardening practices not only can reduce utility and maintenance costs, but also increase property values.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average U.S. household uses about 30 percent of its water outdoors. In arid areas, the figure may be as high as 70 percent. Using native plants appropriate for a property can reduce outdoor water use by 20 to 50 percent, reports the agency. In addition, strategic planting of trees and shrubs to cast cooling shade in summer and insulate against cold winter winds can slash the amount a homeowner spends to heat and cool a home by as much as 40 percent.

Sustainable landscapes also are growing the value of homes. In one study released four years ago, University of Michigan researchers reported that people are willing to pay more for well-designed yards with mostly native plants than for properties dominated by lawn. The Michigan residents surveyed preferred a front garden that was 75 percent prairie wildflowers and grasses to one that was 50 percent prairie. The least favorite landscape was a conventional lawn.

Link here to read the full article.