Homeowners Lack Knowledge of Green Yard Practices

According to a 2008 survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), many homeowners aren’t up to speed on the benefits of sustainable landscape practices — but they’d be willing to try if given more information. The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of ASLA, showed that while 96 percent of U.S. adults have adopted sustainable or energy-efficient practices inside the home, only 58 percent use energy- or water-saving techniques in their yard, lawn or garden.

Of those involved in the care of a residential yard, lawn or garden, only 29 percent planted shade trees to lower energy costs; 23 percent used maintenance methods that reduce fuel consumption, exhaust and emissions (such as using a rake instead of a leaf blower); 15 percent harvested rainwater or used recycled water to water plants; and 11 percent used drip irrigation.

The survey also examined these homeowners’ attitudes about sustainable landscape practices. Only 13 percent disagreed with the statement “I would use more ‘green’ yard practices if I knew more about them.” Sixteen percent disagreed with “Using ‘green’ practices in my yard takes little extra effort and time,” and 19 percent disagreed with “Using ‘green’ practices in my yard saves me money.”

“You probably see a similar gap in consumer awareness as you do with builders and some of the other groups in the design and construction industry,” says Nancy Somerville, ASLA’s executive vice president and CEO. Clearly, there is an opportunity here to enlighten both the housing industry and the public.

© 2009, Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.


U.S. Department of Energy/Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy/Building Technologies Program/Residential Buildings (climate zones)

Building Science Corp. (building homes in different climate zones)

Background on synthetic turf

Membrane bioreactor system (advanced water treatment technology)

GreenScapes web site (tips for contractors, homeowners)

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