Attempting to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle in St. Louis

Environmentally friendly decisions are tough

Xeriscaping… Is that what we’re doing? September 18, 2007

Filed under: Landscaping,Live Green 2.0 — budint @ 2:42 am

So we’re starting this landscaping project and of course we wanna go all out with the sustainable, environmentally-friendly, zero resource impact planning.  And I’d like to save on the lawnmower, gas and my effort too.

We haven’t hammered out all of the details, but i’ve been doing some research and I think we want to do an xeriscape (though not sure how to pronounce it).  An xeriscape is landscaping in ways which do not require supplemental irrigation. They also have a nice symbol. How many landscaping movements have their own symbols?


If you need a solid argument for turning your yard into a xeriscape, check out the mesa, Arizona city website.  They have ten reasons why to scrap the grass and go xeros.   Of course in Arizona they REALLY need this type of conservation while here in St Louis we sit on a nice reservoir.  Still, I’m undeterred by our unlimited access to water because I know it will not last forever (and did I mention no mower, mowing or gas?)

Finally, to get myself started on some plants which don’t require extra watering (aka drought resistant) I’ve been visiting the Grow Native website for the plants which they say are local to the area. This usually means that they’ve survived for years without watering, so they’ll survive without me watering.   The site seems to have some great resources; hoping to find plants that work well for us; attractive, yet hardy.

Off to take a ride in my Xeriscape, not to be confused with the Nissan Xterra, which I don’t own.


Old busted up concrete as our landscaping stone September 17, 2007

Filed under: Landscaping,Live Green 2.0,Reuse — budint @ 2:09 am

  Last week the backyard excavation began. The objective was to remove the old parking pad, old sidewalk, some steps and a couple retaining walls.  All was accomplished and after hauling away much of it, only this pile remains.

Pile of Rubble

Though to our neighbors this looks like a mess, we saw an opportunity to reuse some of the concrete.  After all, this isn’t Ready-mix,  this is 75yr old concrete made with river gravel from the nearby Meramec.  This means that there are unique pebbles all throughout the concrete and this can certainly be used somewhere (see pic below).

Single broken concrete chunk

So in a truly sustainable application, we’ve started breaking up and installing the chunks of this old concrete as our front yard landscaping. We’re not entirely done, though I think we got a pretty good start this weekend.  And if you’ve never done landscaping before, it never looks good until the shrubbery is in and the mulch is down. (see pics below)

stone edging

Besides being able to reuse the old concrete, we’re also eliminating the need for a lawn-mower (that’s $150 towards my solar panel) and the need for for gas.  As well, the type of indigenous shrubs and flowers we’ll be planting will require much less water than the grass.

Not sure how much carbon offsetting we’re accomplishing with this landscaping project, but I’d say enough to offset a flight to a warm and relaxing beach at least.