With drought, water restrictions and conservation on everyone's mind this season, it's tempting to ask "Why should I bother? Is the landscape really worth it?"
Here are a few things to think about that might help answer those questions:
Landscapes give curb appeal you can cash in.
Did you know that landscaping can add as much as 15 percent to the resale value of a building and speed up the sale as much as six weeks? On the other side of the equation, homes with poor landscapes sell 8-10 percent below equivalent homes with good landscape curb appeal.
Water and maintenance used to keep landscapes healthy don't go down the drain.
• Just one average tree absorbs 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year. That is enough to negate 11,000 miles of car emissions. (Hug your tree!)
• Lawns act as a filter to purify water passing through the root zone. The front lawns of just eight houses provide the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning. That's amazing when you consider that the AC unit at the average home has a 3- or 4-ton capacity. (Love your lawn!)
Landscaping cuts energy costs
• Carefully selected and placed trees around a home can cut energy costs as much as 25 percent.
• Shading the AC unit can increase its effectiveness 10 percent.
• Planting ground covers, shrubs and lawns reduces heat reflected off the ground and onto walls and windows. That helps cool the indoors and saves you energy dollars.
• Working in your garden 45 minutes burns off as many calories as 30 minutes of aerobics.
• Weeding for an hour burns 300 calories.
• The cash spent to grow a garden will return seven to 10 times your initial investment in the value of your produce. In other words, $50 spent on a garden will give you at least $350 worth of produce you would otherwise buy. You won't get that rate of return in your savings account.
• There's no produce more sustainable than what you grow yourself or more fresh than what you bring to the table within minutes of picking. You also know where it was grown and how it was grown. Those health benefits are priceless.
Yes, 2013 is the year to conserve resources and follow smart landscape practices. And in a year where we may work harder than usual to keep our yards healthy, it's also a time to appreciate all that our landscapes do for us and the environment. Garden wisely and water wisely.
Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970- 468-0340.