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Eco-Friendly Landscapes and Gardens


									                                      Presented by Daniel Toriola

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                                   Eco-Friendly Landscapes and Gardens
                                              By Shannon Shimizu

  Let’s talk about lawn care. Turn away from pesticides that poison you, your pets, your kids, and the
water supply. Instead try organic products. Not only do they work well, but you’ll notice a difference in
how your lawn looks and feels.

Consider buying a “reel” mower versus a gas mower. Reel mowers are the old fashioned ones that you
push yourself. Save money on gas and get some exercise in at the same time.

When choosing plants for your yard or garden, purchase ones that are grown locally. Other plants may
be beautiful, but not suited for your particular climate. Purchasing locally grown plants ensures that
they will grow well in your yard or garden and help promote the local growers. When checking out your
local nurseries, be sure to ask questions like which plants are eco-friendly, how much water they
require, and whether they need shade or sun? You can also check with a local landscaper for advice.

Try keeping a portion of your yard for natural plantings. Native wild flowers or plants that attract
butterflies or birds are beautiful and will attract helpful insects into your yard as well.

When purchasing lighting for your yard most people think solar when they think green. Solar lighting is
great, but be cautious which ones you choose. Many are made with toxic plastic resins and made for
the short term instead of the long haul. Within a couple of years these lights will have to be replaced
and because of what they’re made of, they are not recyclable. Definitely not eco-friendly! The good
news is that if you search you can find solar lights plus many more items for your yard that are much
more eco-friendly products. Check out websites like Amazon or Green Electronics for more
eco-friendly products and ideas.

If you’re looking for a fountain or birdbath to add to your yard or patio, there are eco-friendly options
available as well. They now make fountains and birdbaths with built in solar panels so that they are self
sustaining. They’ll add beauty and attract colorful birds for your viewing pleasure.

If you live somewhere with a pool or beach access, you may want to consider installing a solar outdoor
shower. You can get ones that are free standing, large enough for children and adults and only need to
be hooked up to your garden hose. No heating costs because its solar and it uses minimal water.

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                                             Presented by Daniel Toriola

Shannon Shimizu is a small business owner of a contracting referral service called Five Star Consumer
Referrals, Inc. The Five Star vision grew out of frustration of not knowing any reliable contractors for
home improvement and repair projects. The goal of the business is to supply homeowners with
excellent contractors who are licensed, insured, bonded and whose references were checked.

In addition to running her business, Shannon is a wife and mother to two young children. Juggling
motherhood and a full time business can be stressful, but the rewards of being able to work from home
and raise her children is well worth the tradeoff.

For more information on Five Star Consumer Referrals, Inc.

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                                             What Makes a Home Eco-Friendly?
                                                           By Gregg- Camp

What comes to mind when you hear the term "eco-friendly homes"? Energy efficiency is something
that people most often equate with this term and that is certainly an important part of eco-friendly
homes, but there is more to being eco-friendly than just saving energy, a whole lot more. True
eco-friendly homes should be created from materials that are either recycled or at least are not made
from fossil fuels. Eco-friendly homes are about reducing waste, making better use of space and
keeping things clean. Reduce, re-use, recycle is the mantra of the eco-friendly home builder.

Green Building Techniques

 In fact, even the building techniques used to make a home can be easier on the environment. Builders
are starting to think about building homes on fewer square feet of land (more earth left for plants to
grow) and even including roof top gardens that help to insulate the home, while making more room for
carbon monoxide-loving oxygen-producing plants, to grow. That is an example of what it truly means to
"go green" with eco-friendly homes. Even small things like building the home in a south facing position
can help to make better use of natural sunlight which can help the home to be more energy efficient.

Eco-friendly Building Materials

 Building materials that do not result in deforestation of the earth, especially the delicate rain forests
also help make eco-friendly homes. This can be anything from reclaimed wood that comes from river
beds, standing dead wood or even from buildings or homes that are being torn down. So long as no
living tree was cut down to build a home, that home is more eco-friendly. Mud, stones and even straw
are natural building materials that are commonly being used in eco-friendly homes along with
renewable resources like bamboo. Nowadays many types of products are being made from bamboo, a
member of the grass family, from flooring to cabinets, to wall coverings.

Energy Efficiency

 Of course, energy efficiency is an important part of eco-friendly homes. A well-insulated home with low
E glass, double glazed windows, will help save energy and adding solar panels can help you create
energy. Some eco-friendly homes even add power into the power grid and make money back from the
electric companies by using solar or wind power. And adding solar panels to a home isn't nearly as
expensive as it used to be, you can even make your own solar panels with simple instructions and a kit
that you can purchase. Some choose to heat their water with solar panel, thereby reducing their need
for gas or electricity.

Making the Earth a Better Place

 More and more people are realizing the importance and benefits of creating eco-friendly homes to
better manage the earth's natural resources so it can be a better place for future generations. More
homes are being built with green building materials and techniques and people are even taking steps
to make their current homes more environmentally sound. As building eco-friendly homes becomes
more popular, these techniques will likely become more commonplace and actually become the
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new homes should seriously consider "going green" with eco-friendly homes.

Gregg Camp is an experienced Santa Cruz real estate broker who has spent more than 20 years
working in the beautiful Santa Cruz Homes. If you want to search for Santa Cruz eco-friendly homes go

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                                   Presented by Daniel Toriola

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What Makes a Home Eco-Friendly?
Enjoying your Eco-friendly party
Eco Friendly Furniture Design
Choices for Eco Friendly Kitchen Flooring
A Green, Eco-friendly Kitchen for your home!

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