Smart-Home Trends That Are Saving the Environment

As our supply of fossil fuels begins to run out, homeowners all over the world are looking for energy solutions that are more sustainable. So far we’re doing a good job of coming up with new renewable energy sources, and everything from solar power through to wind power can be used to create enough electricity to power the average household. But for us homeowners to be more eco-friendly, we need to be able to streamline how much energy we use on a day-to-day basis.

This means cutting down your energy consumption in relation to the things that you probably think are unavoidable. You might think that this means going to an unreasonable amount of effort, such as turning your heating off in the height of winter, or sitting in the dark to save on electricity, but there’s an unlikely hero on the horizon.

Smart-home products are there to help you cut down on energy consumption and save you money in the process. You can make one-off investments in tech products that link up to your home, and these will do all the hard work when it comes to spotting unnecessary energy usage, which is why the smart-home is becoming an increasingly popular way to try to save the planet.

Smart-Heating

When it comes to energy consumption, the traditional convection heating system is a notoriously inefficient way of heating your home. These systems work by heating the air in a space, which then rises and falls, cooling in the process. This wastes energy because it takes longer for the room to feel warm, so you naturally leave the heating on for longer, which means your boiler is using more gas to generate that heat.

Smart-products are bringing an end to this level of wastage. Technology such as the smart-thermostat connects to both your heating system and your Wi-Fi, which allows you to monitor your energy usage through a handy wall-mounted interface or a smartphone app.

Using these tools, you can pinpoint where your heating is using energy unnecessarily and put a plan in place to combat this. Whether it’s using the technology to turn your heating on and off at more appropriate times, or it’s using it to select the a right room temperature effectively, smart-tech can reduce your energy consumption and save you some money in the process.

Alternatively, you can swap out the convection heating system for a more eco-friendly unit altogether. Switching from gas to electric heating seems like the more expensive option, but choose to install an infrared system and you’ll see a dramatic decrease in energy consumption, which in turn brings down your heating bills.

Infrared works by heating the objects in a room rather than the air in a room. This means that the room heats up faster, and by integrating these panels with a smartphone app, you can effectively moderate your energy usage.

Smart-Lighting

Smart-lighting works in the same way as smart-heating. You can monitor your energy usage from a smartphone app, and control your lighting at the touch of a button. This means that you no longer have to worry about unnecessary energy waste from your lightbulbs.

90% of the energy required to power a traditional incandescent light-bulb is lost through heat, whereas smart-lighting uses LED bulbs which are designed to lose less heat than the typical light-bulb. For this reason, smart-lighting offers up to an 80% improvement on energy consumption, saving you money in the long run.

Smart-Plugs

If you’re looking to make make your home smarter, but you aren’t too sure whether you want to make a large investment, you can start by using smart-plugs. These devices work in the same way as the other smart-products, in the sense that they link to an app and allow you to remotely monitor and control your energy consumption.

All you have to do is pop your smart-plug into the socket and plug any appliances into the smart-device. It will then begin to collect data on how you use your appliances and highlight any areas where you can reduce your energy consumption. Although smart-plugs don’t offer the same energy savings as the more expensive products, they act as a firm stepping stone into home-tech.

The Future of Energy-Saving

One-off investments in smart-tech products give you the opportunity to reduce your energy consumption over time, which not only helps the planet but has huge potential for reducing your heating bills in the process. With more day-to-day functions being automated through home-tech, there is potential for a huge decrease in energy consumption.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 17, 2018 at 6:49 am

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The lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World

Living your life a sustainable one would mean you need to put your efforts in place as it would take a long commitment – because there are a lot to learn, explore, experiment, dedicating your life to sustainable practices and, more importantly, live happily when you’re doing it.

But, what if, you’re too lazy enough to do those things and you can’t even imagine having yourself into an outdoor activity?

Well, most of the people don’t know that even a sluggish fella like you can also make a difference even if you’re just sitting inside your house doing your lazy work.

In this infographic designed by a Product Review website WeAreTop10.com, you'll learn how to save the world from your couch.

The lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 17, 2018 at 6:28 am

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Your First Vegetable Garden

Gardening with children is great fun and you can begin in any month of the year. Check out this huge guide to starting a vegetable garden at GardenersPath.com.

Kids love to plant seeds, eventually seeing them sprout, and finally harvesting what they've grown. Or maybe they just love digging around in the dirt and making a big mess!

Either way, starting a vegetable garden is likely to be something your child will love. It's also a great way to bond as parent and child while growing healthy food that you can eventually eat. The whole process is steeped in tradition and there's something about it that appeals to a primitive side of us humans – those both young and old!

Growing and tending to a vegetable garden also teaches kids a little bit about nature. It would be a shame to grow up without spending time outside, interacting directly with mother nature. A simple vegetable garden can spark a lifelong interest in the outdoors and in nature!

Vegetable gardens take some work. They need to be looked after in order to flourish, and this can make for a great sense of pride for your child as they take responsibility for something and see the results of their efforts over time. This is a useful skills for like as well – Learning that diligence and hard work towards your goals gives you a much better chance of succeeding will serve a child into early adulthood and beyond.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 15, 2018 at 7:08 am

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Eco-Labels Around the World

Today, more than 30 years after the first eco-label appeared, there are more than 400 different eco-labels that can be found on various products and in almost every industry.

Getting an eco-label is beneficial not only for the producers but also for the consumers that are buying products with these labels.

When company puts an eco-label on its products it makes a statement about controlling the impact of its business on the environment. Also, these labels can improve their business reputation in the marketplace and differentiate them from the competitors.

Nowadays, when consumers are more aware of the impact of their purchasing decisions on the environment, they more often choose to buy eco-friendly products. By using an eco-label on their products, companies raise awareness about the environmental issues and help consumers make a greener choice. Products with these labels are more appealing to consumers, since they can easily spot the eco-label symbols and find the product they’ve been looking for.

See this infographic from Custom Labels and learn about the most popular eco-labels around the world.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 12, 2018 at 5:06 pm

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Environmentally Friendly Sources of Protein

People who are truly environmentally friendly don’t just settle for driving a hybrid or cycling to work. Those who really care about our planet are a bit more concerned with indirect consequences of their actions and constantly try to reexamine and reevaluate these causal links. Let’s just take one’s nutritious habits into consideration. Yes, food can be organic or genetically modified but even past this, an organic food can be non-environmentally-friendly. How is this possible, you probably ask by now? Well, this all depends on the way in which the food you’re consuming is produced.

In order to make your eating habits friendly, you need to ensure that you’re taking all the necessary nutrients. Here, we have various minerals and vitamins but the three major groups that make up the majority of your meals are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. The last nutrient is vital in your muscle building process and your body’s ability to recover from a demanding physical activity. With this in mind, people who truly care about the environment need to learn which sources of protein are the most environmentally friendly.

 Myths and misconceptions

When it comes to eating healthy, most people first point at lamb, beef, cheese, pork and farmed salmon as the major sources of protein. Consequently, these five are the best example that protein-rich and eco-friendly are not the one and the same thing. Carbon emission that gets produced during the fabrication of these foods is disproportionally large to their nutritious value. In other words, if the entire world became exclusive to mentioned sources of protein, this could cause a serious threat to our, already endangered environment.

Environmentally Friendly Sources of Protein

The reason behind this is the fact that these animals either produce methane to digest food or their manure creates gases that produce the greenhouse effects. Aside from this, it is known that cooking and processing these foods also increases the carbon footprint.

Most efficient protein sources

Environmentally Friendly Sources of Protein

As for the best protein sources you can find in the store, milk, tofu and eggs are fairly high on this list. Some might be a bit surprised by finding milk here, yet, of all animal-source foods, it was discovered that milk has one of the lowest carbon footprints out there.

Environmentally Friendly Sources of Protein

As for people who simply imagine a meatless life, wild game is definitely the eco-friendliest source. Situationally, some cultures have entire cuisines based around edible insects, although some people aren’t adventurous enough to even consider such a menu. From all of the above-listed, it is more than clear that the options are ample and there’s something for both carnivorous, vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.

Supplements

Environmentally Friendly Sources of Protein

The next thing worth considering is food supplements. While a lot of people see them as something used by bodybuilders and professional athletes, they often fail to realize their true nature and their full potential. First of all, you need to consume about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of your mass, while leading a sedentary lifestyle. Needless to say, there are days that simply don’t allow you to follow your regular eating schedule, which is where dietary supplements can come off as lifesaving.

Environmentally Friendly Sources of Protein

Apart from this, some people are lactose intolerant, which means that milk is a definite no-no. Seeing as how we already classified milk as a major protein-rich ally in your struggle for the preservation of the earth, this could pose a certain problem. According to experts behind True Protein, their whey protein isolates contain only traces of lactose, fat and carbohydrates, which makes them into a safe alternative choice.

Bioavailability

Finally, when it comes to supplements, we need to talk about bioavailability. The amount of nutrient that enters your body is important, yet, not all of it can be used. This puts your dietary considerations into a completely new dimension.

Environmentally Friendly Sources of Protein

Whey protein is the undisputed ruler with the greatest bioavailability on any chart. Eggs and milk come right after it. The best thing about this list is the fact that all three of these items come off as environmentally friendly food sources.

 Home-grown superfoods

Regardless of the source of protein, your options of knowing that the food is 100 percent environmentally-friendly aren’t that great. That is unless you’re producing your own superfoods. Nuts and seeds are extremely rich in protein and so are grains and legumes. Some of the examples that are the easiest to produce in your own garden are quinoa and beans. In fact, these foods are capable of providing you with all essential amino acids, which, by definition, makes them into complete proteins.

Environmentally Friendly Sources of Protein

As for the eco-friendliness of this entire endeavor, you want to learn how to make your own compost, start conserving water and employ various other traditional (out-of-the-box) farming techniques. For instance, by looking into great vegetable pairs, you can try out the trend of companion planting. In this way, you will make your garden into something much easier to manage. Apart from this, you will also create an environment in which your garden can become more self-sustainable.

In conclusion

Environmentally Friendly Sources of Protein

In the end, it is important to notice that this list stands as a testament to the fact that for all those who care about the eco-friendliness of their dietary habits, there’s always a better alternative. Sure, taking the high-road is always a difficult task but you first need to determine whether this is the road worth taking. This depends on the end goal and, seeing as how the end goal is the preservation of our planet, there should be no doubt in your mind on whether this is the right thing to do.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 12, 2018 at 6:12 am

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81 ancient settlements discovered in Mato Grosso

You can't see a thing from ground level. But take a bunch of satellite images and the mostly-unexplored Brazilian state of Mato Grosso turns out to be unexpectedly densely populated, with 81 seven hundred year old pre-Columbian settlements clearly visible. More interesting still, they weren't near large rivers but built near smaller streams, smashing the theory that the pre-Columbians lived on fertile flood plains and left most of the dense surrounding forest uninhabited.

A million people or more once lived in Mato Grosso

There's more. When the researchers’ fired up their computer model to find out how many people are likely to have lived in the region in pre-Colombian times and the answer was an extraordinary ‘up to a million people'. And that's many, many more than anyone has predicted before. And it suggests the Amazon was not sparsely populated and pristine back then after all. It was a hub of human activity.

Home to a powerful pre-European civilisation

All 81 settlements pre-date the arrival of Europeans and all consisted of fortified ceremonial villages and earthworks laid out either in squares, circulars or hexagons. 24 of the sites were also double-checked from the ground and proved  representative of the region. The team found bits of pottery, polished stone axes and charcoal-rich soil, all revealing long-term human habitation and dating back to 1410 – 1460 AD.

The Amazon was buzzing with human activity

It looks like human populations in these regions were actually quite large. The research hints that similar settlements might turn up over a vast area of the southern Amazon measuring 154,000 square miles, which may have supported anything from half a million to a million people, which in turn means previous estimates of the population of the Amazon in pre-Colombian times were probably way too low. On the other hand the region is so vast that it can easily swallow up a couple of million people without a trace, so the population wasn't exactly dense by modern standards.

Most of the Amazon hasn’t been excavated yet, so it'll be fascinating to see what else is uncovered by archaeologists.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 5, 2018 at 9:33 am

Categories: Conservation   Tags:

Detoxify Your Home – Green Cleaning Trend

These days, it’s almost impossible not to come into contact with harmful chemicals. They’re in our food, our cleaning products, even our air. It’s a sad fact that convenience has usurped safety and now we surround ourselves with dangerous additives and cleaners. Our food are often given longevity through chemicals, we clean our homes using abrasive chemicals and we spray commercial chemicals into our air to make it ‘fresh’.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are easy changes we can make to our everyday lives that will reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals and have a big impact. And using organic ingredients in our lives can be the first step on the road to change.

By replacing processed, chemical filled food with healthy organic foods, you’ll not only start to feel better, but you will inevitably become healthier too, no longer bound to additives and preservatives. And it’s easier to make the change to organic than you might think. You can start by adding healthy, organic snacks to your diet to take the first step.

You can make a similar change in your cleaning habits to make the biggest impact. By replacing chemically bound cleaners with organic, natural cleaners that are readily available and far easier and safer to use, your home will become a safer environment for your family and furry friends.

Detoxify Your Home Green Cleaning Trend

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Posted by Eco Warrior - April 5, 2018 at 6:12 am

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Gifts helping build a sustainable future in Madagascar

The word ‘Madagascar’ might be associated with lemurs bounding through treetops, exotic reptiles and stunning beaches, but it’s also home to some of the poorest people on the planet. 92% of its population live below the poverty line of $2 a day and as many as 4 in 10 children in rural areas die before the age of five from easily preventable diseases such as diarrhoea. For those trying to help there’s the added complexity that the island is home to an incredible array of vulnerable animal and plant species, with around 80% of its wildlife found nowhere else on Earth.

A small UK based charity, called SEED Madagascar, look to help the people, animals and plants of the island in a sustainable and ecological way and as part of this run an innovative project called Stitch Sainte Luce set up by art lecturer Sarah Brown.

Sewing the seeds of change

Like many others, when Sarah Brown, an art lecturer from Leeds, went on holiday to Madagascar she was unaware of the problems the people on the island face. She was hoping for a relaxing couple of weeks amongst the island’s unique wildlife, but the trip changed her life forever and led to her setting up an incredible charity programme, which looks to empower women through embroidery.

It was not just the extreme poverty that shocked Sarah, but also the lack of self-belief and purpose in the women she met; many of whom were living in terrible conditions, illiterate and had no options beyond marriage and motherhood. Often prevented from accessing paid work as a result of domestic responsibilities, cultural expectations, and a lack of earning opportunities, women in Madagascar often suffer the most from the effects of poverty.

Sarah decided she wanted to do something about what she’d seen, so left her job and home in the UK to move to a small village in the South East of Madagascar called Sainte Luce. There she used her embroidery skills to teach women how to put their traditional creativity to use in a project that has been named ‘Stitch Sainte Luce’.

By bringing in an income stream and teaching them a new skill set, Sarah has helped empower the women of the village and given them hope for the future. In the beginning the women produced small embroidered items for sale to charity volunteers who passed through the village. Seven years on and the project has launched a website to sell the women’s beautiful, original and creative produce, including a range of stylish make-ups bags and purses, alongside cushions and kindle and iPad cases, which take inspiration from Madagascar’s colourful and vibrant culture, wildlife and storytelling, and make beautiful and unique gifts, whether for yourself or a friend. Each design is unique and individual, with no two items alike and you can discover exactly who made each item. The beautiful products are brought back to the UK by volunteers working for the charity and so no extra air-miles are created in their delivery to this country.

How to help

For more information visit the Stitch Sainte Luce site, where you can learn about the talented women behind the products and view or buy their incredible work – www.stitchsainteluce.org

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Posted by Eco Warrior - March 29, 2018 at 7:39 am

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5 Green Ways to Save Cash in 2018

In 2018, there are a dizzying number of ways to tackle going green. For many, however, so many environmental solutions are sometimes much more expensive than their less eco-friendly alternatives. Environmentally safe soaps and personal care products are great, but they will end up costing you hundreds in the long run compared to regular options. Buying organic, locally produced foods is all well and good, but they can cost a lot more than their imported or chemically treated cousins. While you may be happy to fork out to help save the planet, many of us simply don’t have the resources. Here are 5 Eco-Tips for those people to try in 2018 that are not only green, but will save a decent amount of money as well.

Taking a Staycation

Think about taking your vacation local this year – see what your home country has to offer. If you live in the city, there will more things for you to do than you could ever squeeze into a single holiday abroad anyway. If you live in the country then check out the local national parks, historical sights, towns and villages – we guarantee you you won’t have been to even half of what’s on offer. Holidaying at home instead of flying abroad is a far more sustainable and eco-friendly option, and the savings you’ll make by not paying for those exorbitant tickets will allow you to take many more than that one big vacation a year.

Reduce meat consumption by getting creative

Veganism is now a natural part of our social fabric. Restaurant consultancy Baum + Whiteman predicted that the global number 1 food trend for 2018 will be “plant-based”, and that reflects the last 15 years of growing interest in Veganism. It’s grown steadily but surely and its not going away anytime soon. A big argument from the movement is environmental – industrial scale pastoral farming is harming our planet, as covered in some now very famous documentaries like Cowspiracy. What’s more, meat is becoming even less affordable. Here are some standard prices for cheaper cuts of meat:

1kg – Chicken: £8-9 1kg

Beef Mince: £7 1kg

Pork: £9

Compare that to a meat alternative like tofu or quorn and those seem very steep indeed:

1kg – Tofu: £5

1kg – Quorn: £6

It’s true though that despite their attractive price-tag, quorn and tofu are famously not that interesting to cook with. Here’s our advice – get creative! A new wave of vegan alternatives to your much loved classics have rejuvenated what it means to substitute. Produce such delights as: Tofish – a seaweed wrapped tofu bar coated in batter and deep-fried (sounds weird but it’s genuinely delicious, and tastes very authentic). Vegan Fried Chicken – uses nutritional yeast as a good chicken-y alternative. With a bit of experimentation, the gentle learning curve of making simple substitutions will have you squashing your budget and your carbon footprint without missing your favourite meals.

Collaborative Consumption

Take a look at the new ‘sharing economy’, services under it including BlaBlaCar and AirBnB. These platforms are driven by ‘collaborative consumption’ and are linked by their emphasis on more efficiently using the resources around you – take spare seats in cars and free living rooms over cab companies and hotels. A recent addition to the sharing economy, Fat Lama allows anyone to rent out anything to anyone, insured. Instead of wasting money on buying something people only use once, they can now rent it from a professional looking to make a little more from their gear – and they usually charge a lot less than standard rental houses. Fat Lama is slowly but surely making the environment a little healthier by reducing harmful factory production . The next time you need something – from a bike to a drone – rent it from your neighbours. You’ll save the planet, and a bit of cash along the way.

Cut Down on Plastic Packaging in the Kitchen

In 2016, the Guardian reported that only a third of recyclable plastic packaging was actually recycled by all British households. The main reason? Sorting out the recycling is a frustrating and time-consuming process which is relatively unrewarding, especially if you don’t think you’ve done it right. Here are two ways to reduce the amount of packaging you produce in the kitchen, making that process just a little simpler.

A) Get A Soda Stream

If you like soft drinks, or even just fizzy water, you may benefit from investing in a sodastream. For less than £100 you can buy a sodastream which carbonate water at the click of a button resulting in a fresh fizz every time. Cut down on plastic bottle use like this today!

B) Ditch Coffee Pods

Coffee pods have taken the world by storm in recent years, and despite their convenience, they are expensive, absolutely terrible for the planet, and you are missing out on the pure joy of making coffee with a proper cafetiere or a drip filter. If you need that caffeine hit, put down that plastic pod and pick up a hobby to last a lifetime – and save yourself cash in the process.

Investing in Smart Home systems

The smart homes of 2018 are a real look into the future. With the popularisation of devices such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home, we are looking at totally voice controlled home systems that have never been easier to use. Smart homes are now capable of automating all things domestic, from controlling the heating and lights to individual rooms to turning on cookers, boiling kettles and opening windows. Automated energy control is the future of home energy efficiency. Admittedly the startup costs can be a little hefty, but its a thoroughly worthwhile investment in the long term. And what’s more, the reduced energy consumption is unbelievably good for the planet, so really it’s a win win. So there you go, 5 tips to help your bank account while also living a sustainable, globally conscious lifestyle in 2018 – give them a try and see how much you can save today.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - March 29, 2018 at 7:25 am

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Autumn Gardening Projects to Keep Your Backyard Green and Breathtaking

Autumn is one of the best parts of the year for gardening, and you can do so much every day in order to prepare your plants for the upcoming weather changes. Weather conditions starting from March are fit for planting herbs and veggies, but also different sorts of flowers in all colours, as these can blossom even at low temperatures. No matter how big or small your garden is, you can find a quiet corner to relax and enjoy some gardening you’ll be proud of later.

Start with preparing the soil

First, you’ll need to build a strong foundation for your plants. You can achieve this by using fertilizers and nourishing the ground that’s still warm from the summer heat. This will provide your plants with enough nutrients to start growing, as well as with some additional pesticides so that they will start to spread quite soon. You need to keep the soil moist: after being constantly dry during the summer, these cooler autumn days are a true relief not only for the plants, but also the soil. This doesn’t mean you should reduce watering, though; it just means you won’t have to do it as frequently. Although the surface seems like it’s moist, deep down, the soil is still dry and you’ll need to water it quite a lot before the water reaches the roots of your plants.

Plant without worrying about it

Autumn is a glorious time for many plants because the weather conditions suit lots of different species. The most obvious choice would be planting bulbs, because they can survive these conditions and will add some much-needed colour to your backyard. You’d be surprised at the variety of colours, sizes and shapes these flowers come in. Moreover, as they reach their full potential in the spring, this is the perfect time to plant them and show them love before they start blooming. Another great choice is Boronia, a native Australian shrub famous for its unique, fresh, perfume-like smell. Not only do its pink, yellow and green colours really pop in any garden, but they also stand out thanks to this overpowering smell.

It’s all about the design

Because of the specific weather conditions, many Aussies decide to ask experts for help when it comes to planning their backyard. They know how changeable the weather is, so they often seek out professional help to make sure their plants will survive until the warm weather comes back. People often have a tendency of wanting to do everything on their own and, to be honest, this isn’t always the best solution. Landscape design is a complicated process that includes all the landscape planning, planting and incorporating additional water features. This is why it’s worth hiring experts in landscaping from North Shore to keep your garden flawless and ensure you’ll get the most out of it by the springtime.

Lawn care and fertilizers

After a hot and dry summer, your lawn is quite dry and far away from its signature green colour, so autumn is the perfect time to take care of it. First of all, you need to recover your lawn and fertilize it without using any strong products you used during spring and summer. You need to find a solution that contains a low percentage of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, as these repair damaged roots and help new ones grow. Time organization is crucial here because you’ll need to do all of this before the temperature seriously drops and prevents your lawn from recovering before the cold weather. This will ultimately result in strong roots and thick grass in the spring. What you also need to take care of is your garden’s hygiene, and although this seems like something you can skip, make sure not to do so. Clean all the garbage, remove the grass after mowing your lawn and see if there are bugs eating your plants or trees, because this can be a rather serious problem. This is the time to react; don’t rely on the cold winter temperature to remove the unwanted guests from your backyard, but be prepared for any situation. After that’s done, just pay attention to the final touches and enjoy your garden and its beautiful features.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - March 22, 2018 at 11:08 am

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