Reduce Your Ecological Footprint

Fear not brave gardeners, I’m not suggesting that you go out and get a smaller pair of garden clogs to squeeze into. Instead I’d ask folks everywhere to examine the impact of our lawns, landscapes, and lifestyles on the local ecosystem. Think of your yard as a type of footprint that falls on the earth. Now ask yourself if that footfall is delicate and well placed, or are you just plodding along squishing whatever’s in your path? I know I’m preaching to the eco-friendly choir here, but I figure even a free range organic choir could use some good hymns when they go rambling into the world singing their big green ideas. The big idea here is that perhaps with a little honest examination we can find ways at home to reduce the size of our own footprint on the environment.

Whenever I encounter a mass of folks blindly harming themselves with their own philosophies, customs, or beliefs I sit and wonder who might be profiting from these seemingly self-inflicted wounds, but then that’s just silly, who could possibly profit from millions of people pouring unneeded dangerous chemicals on their lawns every year??? Certainly not we organic gardeners, I can’t make a dime trying to sell my happy healthy clients on new-fangled, out-there, fringe ideas like better life through chemistry!

How do you rate???

In order to find out how big of an impact your yard’s footprint is creating in the local ecosystem answer the questions below.  When you are done answering the questions add up your points to see how eco friendly your landscape really is!



  1. Does your property contain and filter all the rainwater that falls on its’ surface through the use of rain gardens, French drains, or wells?
  1. A veritable mote of rain gardens surrounds our house, not a drop goes down the sewer.

(0 points)

  1. We have a rain garden that captures more than half of the rain that falls, but we’re still watching water pour down the drain. (5 points)
  2. Our landscape is a giant slip and slide for all the little raindrops; we make regular contributions to the local rivers and waterways. (10 points)


  1. Does your property have native plantings to attract wild life?
  1. We can’t see the house for the butterflies and birds in the way!  No turf, just native plants.

(0 points)

  1. We have some native plants incorporated into the landscape and a bit of lawn. Birds and butterflies visit more often than in-laws, but less then the mailman.

(5 points)

  1. We like it when birds land in the yard, if we can get a clear shot at them.  All turf lawn and no native plants. (10 points)
  2. Property is theft, I live the wonderers life and the birds watch me. (Your eco-footprint wears moccasins not shoes.) (You win)

Home Grown Food

  1. Do you grow your own food?
  1. The yard is my oyster I shall not shop.  We grow enough for the neighbors too!  (-5 points)
  2. We grow some awesome tomatoes!  But we’re shopping for groceries more often then organizing harvests.  (5 points)
  3. What, you can grow food at home?  I thought it grew in factories?  (10 points)


  1. Do you compost your yard and kitchen waste?
  1. Waste?  We don’t have no stinking waste!  It’s all just compost waiting to happen. (0 points)
  2. The black plastic bin special is sitting in the back yard with something kind of scary growing in it.   (5 points)

C.  Oh man I wouldn’t put scraps in the yard, that’s gross!

(Dumps are gross, compost is golden, 15 points)

Chemical Dependency

  1. Do you use chemical fertilizers or pesticides on your lawn?
    1.  I don’t even walk down the chemical isle at the hardware store, no way.  (-5 points)
    2.  I’ve used some chemicals, but I’m looking for a way out before I’m in too deep.

(5 points, don’t worry, there’s help out there)

C.    I don’t have a problem with lawn chemicals, unless I run out!

(Sounds like denial to me, 20 points)


Add up your points to see what size shoes we need to fit on the ecological impact of your yard.  The higher the numbers go, the bigger the footprint.  Now what size shoes does your eco-impact wear?

0-10 points:   Your yard has bare feet and walks softly.  Teach your neighbors, their children will thank            you.

10-30 points:  Your yard wears small smart shoes and walks quickly but carefully.

30-45 points:  Please try to keep your landscape on the path to health.  I’m afraid it’s jumping around leaving footprints all over the ecosystem!

45-65 points:  WATCH OUT!  Your lawn is trying to kill us all!  DO SOMETHING!