Sustainable Landscaping: The Power of Solar Panels in Lawn and Garden Maintenance
Good landscape design aims to enhance the aesthetics of spaces such as lawns and gardens. But great landscaping in modern times goes beyond tending lovely plants. It’s mindful landscaping that incorporates environmental friendliness and sustainability into lawn and garden maintenance. Your goal should be to make your outdoor spaces more enjoyable while doing your bit for the blue planet.
In this article, you’ll learn a few ideas on how to practice sustainable landscaping. You’ll walk away with insights into what environmentally friendly lawn and garden maintenance looks like.
It’s all about quitting dirty energy sources in favor of a cleaner source of energy to power your outdoor space for parties, relaxation, and even nighttime gardening.
Assess Your Landscape’s Solar Potential
It’s essential to make an assessment of your landscape’s overall solar potential. Identify spots that receive ample sunlight throughout the day. Because solar panels require direct sunlight for efficient electric power generation.
During the site’s analysis, pay attention to factors such as shading from trees, buildings, fences, and other outdoor structures. If you have a decent garden size, you can ground-mount enough solar panels to keep the space well-supplied with clean energy.
With good planning and intelligent solar installation, your garden should become a well-lit place for nighttime gardening and other nocturnal experiences. And yes, nighttime gardening is a thing.
When the sun shines so brightly, you may want to plant your tender seedlings at night. Because too much daytime heat stresses them out. And if you can have plants that naturally blossom at night, that’d be great.
Design your garden in a way that maximizes after-dark enjoyment. As you whip a healthy salad at 2 a.m. using fresh vegetables you’ve grown yourself in your garden, shadows aren’t your friend.
Let’s Stop Polluting the Air
Did you know that a well-maintained landscape or lawn can help cut surface temperatures by up to 40 percent 1 as opposed to cover-free soil? Also, manicured lawns increase the curb appeal and can do wonders for your property’s aesthetics.
But there’s the little issue of garden equipment carbon emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency says that off-road equipment such as gas-powered lawnmowers and leaf blowers push out roughly 242,000,000 tons of air pollution2. This statistic is similar to the total estimated annual vehicular or household emissions.
Gas-run Leaf Blowers Really Harm the Planet
According to the CA Air Resources Board,3 operating a gas-powered leaf blower for one hour results in emissions comparable to those produced by a small vehicle driving 1,100 miles. So, get rid of that deafening leaf blower. It’s horrible for the environment.
Consider using a good battery-powered leaf blower for garden and lawn maintenance instead. Charge this battery with solar power to keep things nice and green. However, many battery pack leaf blowers aren’t powerful enough for serious leaf corralling in the fall.
Get a Solar Lawn Mower, Too
Maybe you should opt to go green and use a hybrid solar lawnmower instead. Solar technologists have been innovating hard over the years. You can now switch to solar-powered lawnmowers, an option that represents a lighter carbon footprint. Robotic residential mowing has become a refreshing reality.
This machine utilizes solar panels that convert the sun’s energy to a clean energy source. When the sun is out and shining beautifully, the unit relies completely on solar power. But when there’s not enough sunshine, the mower turns to battery power.
If the rechargeable battery needs a little more juice, the fully automatic solar-powered lawn mower heads to the charging station for replenishment. At no point does the mower use gas, but it may rely on conventional grid power to run the charging station.
Think about the location of the charging station and plan for easy access. Also, decide if the station will be grid-power-driven or solar-power-reliant. For a growing community of mindful homeowners, it’s a solar charging station all the way.
A solar charging station consists of two critical parts. It has a photovoltaic power generation system and a battery-based energy storage system.
Solar Panel Integration Onto the Garden’s Structures
A good electrician knows what to do to channel conventional electric power to your lawn or garden. You probably have to get a trench dug to hide the cables. And you may have to install an extra outdoor weather-friendly plug.
Electric power is relatively clean. But why not use an even cleaner energy source, the sun’s energy, to power your lawn, garden, awnings, and pergola? Find clever ways to integrate lighting into these structures.
You can use ground-mounted solar panel systems coupled with night-transforming lighting systems. Learn the latitude of your garden or lawn’s location and tilt your garden solar panels to that very angle to maximize solar energy harvesting.
Solar-powered Water Features
Do you have a fountain or a small waterfall out in the yard that proudly declares your uniqueness? Consider powering these water features using solar energy. The same applies if you have a pond, outdoor aquarium, or hydroponic garden. A good solar water pump can help lower your energy bills while keeping your garden well-watered.
Install Solar-powered Garden Lighting
Is there a better way to celebrate your SOs glowing up than throwing a lovely garden party? Great lighting can make a huge difference for such events.
Or maybe you have been pondering erecting a few structures in the backyard so you can enjoy nighttime aggressive skating.
Perhaps the idea of being able to read a good book in the garden at all times excites you. Or just whiling away the hours lying in a garden bed. The paths in your garden need reliable lighting, too.
Garden equipment suppliers sell all kinds of solar-powered lawn and garden lights. Usually, these lights have small built-in panels that collect the sun’s energy and store it for later use.
Use Solar Energy to Heat the Pool or Outdoor Shower
Heating the pool for those happiness-inducing swimming sessions should get easier if you can harness the sun’s energy. Install a good solar water heating system.
Surprisingly, the typical asking price of a home with an outdoor shower 4 can be as high as twice that of a home without an open-air bathroom.
A solar swimming pool heater has four main components namely:
- A solar collector for heating pool water as it circulates
- A filter for getting rid of pool debris
- A pump for bringing the water to the collector and filter
- A valve for water-flow control
Decide if you would install a glazed solar collector system or a non-glazed system. The best choice depends on the predominant climate where you’re at according to Energy Saver.5
Glazed collector systems are pricier than their non-glazed counterparts. But they’re versatile and can be used throughout the year in different kinds of climates.
Harmonize Outdoor Installations With Landscape Aesthetics
That pergola keeps you cool when you’re relaxing in the garden after spending an hour tending your plants. But what does the pergola look like? And if you have any awning around the property, what color is it?
When installing solar power panels to power these outdoor structures, use your creativity to make sure everything aligns harmoniously to the overall landscape aesthetics. You want harmony and serenity to dominate the feel of your garden.
Sustainable Landscaping: Things to Think Through As You Plan
Lawns and gardens are one of the most important parts of a home. You want beautiful daffodils on the lawn and all kinds of green vegetables growing in the garden. But you also want to host garden parties powered by exquisite lights that make the evening 100 times more enjoyable.
As you plan out your landscape, incorporate into the design how you’ll power your outdoor spaces sustainably. Invest in a solar-powered lawnmower and a battery pack leaf blower.
Heat your outdoor shower if you have one with a solar water heating system. Install solar-powered garden night lights, too. Make your garden a more beautiful, inviting place all while cutting your carbon emissions.