6 Home Improvements That Meet Your Needs And Have Mother Nature's Approval

While Mother Nature as an entity may be based on ancient myth, you still want a home that's Earth-friendly and sustainable, right? Here are five important home improvements Mother Nature herself would approve of, that can also save you money.

1. Convert To AstroTurf

Unless you get up close and personal, today's fake turf looks no different than real grass, but for the exception of not having brown patches and bald spots. Not having a lawn to look after will give you hundreds of more free hours in a year, not to mention all the water you'll save in this age of drought awareness and water conservation. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that half the outdoor water used is wasted anyway! Also, considering the fact that Americans burn 800 million gallons of gas mowing lawns, a lot could be said for saving fuel and reducing harmful emissions by laying down synthetic grass.

2. Caulk, Insulate And Add Weather Stripping

Unless your home is tightly sealed at every crack, door and window, you've got air-flow problems that cost you money and waste the effort to cool and warm the temperatures indoors. Different forms of insulation, such as caulking and weather stripping, are relatively easy and inexpensive to employ, yet save tremendously in the way of eliminating drafts. Foam insulation, though considerably less of a bargain in initial costs, might be your best bet for attaining an air-tight seal all over your home, but even the old-fashioned pink rolls of fiberglass are going to save you money and energy.

3. Upgrade Your Garage

Garage doors made of wood are prone to rot and need frequent painting, while newer systems go years without need of repairs. Steel-based doors provide greater peace of mind with longer warranties and don't force you to reapply a new coat of paint every year or so. Upgrade your garage door to the better materials and continue to test the ability of the opening system to reverse quickly if an obstruction is encountered. Experts recommend doing this every month, to make sure the door can stop-and-go on a dime. Keep in mind that ordinary house paint causes extraordinary damage to the environment and is also potentially harmful to your health. Also, using steel in place of wood saves trees.

4. Try Something Solar

The power of the sun is free, in generous supply nearly everywhere and harnessing it is harmless to the environment. On the other hand, the use of electricity and machines powered by fossil fuels is not so earth-friendly. While you may not be interested in cluttering your property with large, clunky solar panels, you might consider convenient and inconspicuous solar shingles. These clever devices do the same job as regular shingles, sealing and protecting, but contain photovoltaic cells, which generate electricity, potentially saving you 40 to 60 percent on your utility bills. No matter what your opinion regarding the global warming debate, burning less fossil fuels (via the electricity your home consumes) is a good thing, as is saving money, and solar power helps your home do that.

5. Start Growing Your Own Vegetables

Although gardening is an ancient practice, it's also the new and improved way to bring healthy and affordable food to the table. With fresh vegetables sprouting in your backyard, you don't have to worry about genetically altered foods or those laden with pesticides. Grow what you want, can leftovers for winter or sell what you don't use at the local farmer's market. If you're a beginner, choose something easy like beans, herbs and carrots.

Not only does gardening save money, improve your family's nutrition quotient and make eating fresh as easy as a trip out the back door, but it's also a great way to relieve stress, get exercise and a breath of fresh air in the great outdoors.

6. Add A White Picket Fence

Fencing around the garden protects your prized flowers and veggies, but fencing around the entire yard keeps your kids and pets safe, too. You could also block a considerable amount of noise from the outside world, such as from traffic and machinery if your fence is constructed as an acoustic barrier. In consideration of Mother Nature, there are sustainable materials for any type of fencing, like bamboo or totally recycled materials. In many ways, a fence adds a quaint touch to your home, along with practical applications that simply make sense. Talk to a fencing contractor for more information.

Having a home that is kind to nature and mindful of resources is as important as having a beautiful one. Your corner of the world can indeed satisfy a number of important criteria, including economic viability, that Mother Nature herself would approve of.