With so many people expected to make the move and dive into real estate on the Lower Mainland in the near future, it is important for us to do our part and make small livable improvements to our homes - inside and out – to help ease the stress placed on our environment.
With the movement towards smart cities, the urban centres we live in can become more efficient, livable, and sustainable in both the short and long term.
While you are busy getting your home and yard ship shape to enjoy another wonderful Vancouver Summer Season – think about trying even just a few of these easy tips listed below. A few simple changes can make all the difference in your community.
1/ Conserve water
The rain barrel idea is simple: tank under the gutter’s downspout to catch and store the rain. This helps the environment, lowers your city water usage, and keeps your garden green during the summer months.
In the District of West Vancouver, you can purchase a Rain Barrel at a subsidized price. Here are the details: http://bit.ly/1IXIFfy
In North Vancouver, contact your District or City Hall to inquire about their program.
You can register here for a GardenSmart Community Workshop on Backyard Rain Water Harvesting (and other great gardening workshops in your neighbourhood!)
Sunday April 26, 2015
10AM - 11:30AM
The Cultivate Garden (behind the businesses at 644 Queensbury Ave, North Vancouver)
2/ Less lawn
Instead conserve and beautify using indigenous plants such as ferns, tiger lilies and hostas. Lush plantings, the sound of splashing water and the warmth of dancing flames are always welcoming. Comfortable gathering spaces are perhaps the most low-maintenance and water-conserving options for replacing your lawn yet staying engaged outdoors.
If you're inspired ... Lawn Gone: Low Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard by Pam Penick is a great resource for more information on landscaping with less lawn, including how to eradicate existing lawn areas. It also offers regionally appropriate plant suggestions.
3/ Go chemical-free
RECIPE for Homemade Weed Killer:
1 gallon of white vinegar
1/2 cup salt
Liquid dish soap (any brand)
Empty spray bottle Put salt in the empty spray bottle and fill it the rest of the way up with white vinegar. Add a squirt of liquid dish soap. This solution works best if you use it on a hot day. Spray it on the weeds in the morning, and as it heats up it will do its work.
Backyard composting is the most effective and environmentally-friendly way to manage the organic "waste" your home produces, transforming your "trash" into "treasure". A single household can compost over 500 kg of kitchen scraps, low-quality papers and yard trimmings per year, resulting in over 100 kg of free fertilizer!
Almost two-thirds of North Shore households compost their organics, keeping almost 9,000 tonnes from curbside collection for disposal. But still, 25% of the 24,000 tonnes of garbage picked up from North Shore houses could be backyard composted.
Managing organics in your yard reduces pollution, our carbon footprint and disposal costs, while improving our environment and keeping organics in the ecological cycle. It also reduces your need to store smelly garbage indoors until the morning of collection and reduces hauling heavy waste to the curb.
*Source – North Shore Recycling Program - http://www.northshorerecycling.ca
If you are a resident of the City or District of North Vancouver or the District of West Vancouver, you may purchase a backyard composter and compost aerating tool subsidized by your municipality.
Click here for more information on North Vancouver City Green Can Program
Click here for more information on North Vancouver District Green Can Program
Click here for more information on West Vancouver’s Green Can Program
5/ Grow your own
Even a few miniature fruit trees and a small vegetable garden in a raised bed or in containers will help keep you healthy and save you dollars. Lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries and blueberries thrive in our environment! Check out http://www.gardeningbc.com/ for how to do it!
6/ Bee friendly
We need bees to pollinate, so get a few plant bee-friendly annuals such as asters, marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias; or perennials such as clematis, foxgloves, hollyhocks, roses or shrubs such as Buddleia.
What’s the buzz at North Van’s District Hall?
Did you know that the District of North Vancouver has placed an apiary consisting of two beehives on the roof of District Hall? Read all about it here.
For more information on North Shore bee conservation, visit www.beefriendly.ca.
7/ Drip irrigation
It saves water compared to sprinklers.
Drip irrigation, also known as trickle irrigation or micro irrigation or localized irrigation, is an irrigation method that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. It is done through narrow tubes that deliver water directly to the base of the plant.