There are about 10,000 tiny homes throughout the U.S. People choose to build or move into them for a variety of reasons, but many times it has to do with wanting to reduce your carbon footprint or experience nature.
It’s true that tiny homes can be more eco-friendly on their own because they tend to use fewer natural resources and can be made from repurposed/recycled materials. Because many of them are in rural areas, it’s the perfect opportunity for owners to practice minimalism and enjoy the beauty of their natural surroundings.
Unfortunately, more than 50 million Americans deal with allergies — many of them seasonal. For some people, that makes being outside in the Spring seem nearly impossible without being completely uncomfortable.
But there are a few things you can do as a tiny homeowner to keep your landscaping sustainable this Spring while finding some relief from your seasonal allergies. Let’s look at a few useful ideas.
Xeriscaping — What Is It and How Does it Work?
Having plants around your yard is a great way to lower your carbon footprint, increase the flow of oxygen, and improve air quality in and around your house. If you use native plants around your home, you can even reduce how much water you’ll have to use to keep them thriving since they’re used to the climate and conditions of the area. As an allergy sufferer, you should be especially aware of climate change and the impact it has on the environment. As temperatures get warmer, allergies will get worse. And that’s the least of our worries as a planet since contaminated water could become a serious problem and lead to many water-borne illnesses.
So if you want the benefits of having plants in your yard but you want to live more sustainably, consider xeriscaping.
Xeriscaping is the practice of landscaping to reduce the need for so much water and maintenance. As stated above, one way to xeriscape is to use native plants that naturally require less water. It also often includes things like turf landscaping to conserve water (and save money) and decorative granite rocks that require less maintenance.
When done correctly, xeriscaping saves time, water, and money. If it’s maintained correctly, a xeriscape can use less than ½ of the water of a traditional landscape layout.
There are a few principles to keep in mind to xeriscape correctly and to reap the greatest rewards. It starts by choosing the right plants. If you’re not sure which plants are native to your area, the National Wildlife Federation has you covered. By visiting their website, you can simply type in your zip code and you’ll be greeted with flowers, grasses, trees and shrubs that are all native to your area.
Once you’ve discovered the right plants and you have them in your yard, some of the other principles of xeriscaping include:
- Improving your soil
- Watering efficiently
- Using mulch to retain soil moisture
Join a Community Garden
Tiny homes aren’t always constructed in secluded areas. There are actually tiny home communities throughout the country, like the Circle Pond community in Florida that was created for people who couldn’t find affordable housing in the area. One of the features of that particular community is an edible garden for everyone to enjoy.
Joining a community garden is a great way to manage your allergy symptoms and enjoy the benefits of planting. Community gardens have so many benefits, including:
- Educating people on where their food comes from
- Sequestering carbon
- Reducing the shipping needs of food
- Supporting pollinator habits
- Reducing food insecurity
Community gardens can also help you to relieve stress, be more physically active, and provide social opportunities. Joining a community garden can help you to meet new people and feel more at home with your neighbors and other people within the area.
You don’t have to give up on having a beautifully-landscaped yard or garden surrounding your tiny home just because you have seasonal allergies. There are things you can do inside and outside to protect yourself and keep your symptoms from flaring up.
Start by planting allergy-friendly plants, like:
These flowering plants will bring a world of color to your yard without causing your eyes to water! You can also plant shady, oxygen-producing trees like Dogwoods and Magnolias.
Some other tips to keep yourself safe include washing your hands immediately after gardening, especially before you have a chance to touch your eyes or other parts of your body. If you wear contact lenses and touch your eyes, some of the allergens could stick to the lens or get underneath it and make matters worse.
Additionally, wash the clothes you wore while gardening right away. Washing your hair can also help to get rid of trapped allergens.
Keeping your home clean, vacuumed, and dusted regularly (especially in the Spring) can cut down on allergens in the air. A HEPA filter can also help to improve the air quality so you’re not suffering from the natural release of pollen and allergens coming inside from your yard.
If you live in a tiny home and want to practice a sustainable lifestyle, practicing responsible landscaping techniques is a great way to do it. You don’t have to give up on that because you have allergies, but you may need to make a few adjustments to fully enjoy the Spring season and the beauty it has to offer.
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