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Thank you, Lauren! So many ideas/options and info here. Hope this inspires lots of people.

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I enjoy seeing such practical and eco-friendly ideas with great descriptions and pictures! We built a new house on a wooded lot. Two of the basic premises were low maintenance and economical as this is a home for retirement. We wanted to enjoy the space rather than being a slave to it. Many of the things we did are right on target with the ideas in your article! What an encouragement and inspiration!

These are some things we have incorporated:

1) We left as many trees as possible so the forest is visible from every window in the house (so relaxing). The forest also provides a buffer from the street as well as shade from sweltering summer sun. Pathways through the forest allow for pleasant strolls and nature watching.

2) Throughout most of the acre, the forest floor is still intact. We were left to deal with the clay foundation pad. Not wanting to have grass to mow and water, we collected leaves and pine straw in the fall as people were setting them out for trash/landfill pick-up (over 200 bags of leaves). When construction was complete, sticks saved from under-brushing the lot were spread on top of the clay pad. Leaves and pine straw were spread several inches deep on top of that. That provides a stable walking surface and prevents sinking ankle deep in muck during rainy spells. Basically, if something is cut down on the lot, it is clipped or chipped and returned to the forest floor rather than being hauled off/sent to landfill. (Another idea is to contact local landscape and tree trimming companies and have them bring leaves or chipped wood to you.)

3) I did plant some water-wise plants around much of the foundation to help control erosion from rain water run-off. Some were natives just moved from other locations the lot. Until established, I am hand watering but do NOT have plans to install a sprinkler.

4) I have a rain basin to capture run-off from a roof valley. This is used for watering potted plants or new plantings so I seldom have to turn on the hose.

5) Water stood in several areas of the lot so we scooped out natural looking "swales" meandering around trees to allow excess water from torrential rainfalls to flow to the local lake. Otherwise, most rainfall has time to soak in on the property.

6) We used local moss rock boulders where dirt retention was needed and for outlining focal areas. (Comment of one contractor "Natural boulders take a long time to install.") Yes... but they are local, cheaper and look natural.

Much of the work was completed this year so I am eager to see long-term results and pay-off (low yard maintenance costs and enjoying natural wildlife that also enjoy our little patch of woods).

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Gartenmanufaktur Schröder: das stimmt! Mein Vater (außerhalb von Stuttgart) sagt genau dasselbe: die Felder sind alle “kaputt” vom vielen Spritzen; nun gibt es kaum noch Insekten, und als Folge nur noch wenig Vögel.
Where we now live in the US (NC mtns) we don’t have these problems; our issues are with finding plants that can withstand high winds and snow load etc. (We lost several large coniferous shrubs this winter due to snow, we think.) Our 6 acres (almost 2.5 ha) are mostly a very steep hillside, so it’s very difficult to get to, period, even if not schlepping heavy bushes up and down. Had the people who built this house tiered the hillside 14 years ago it would be easier now, but is it worth doing it at this point? I can’t even imagine the cost.......
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