Collier and Lee Counties Edition

Non-Toxic Options for a Backyard Oasis

Julia butterfly at Cypress Dome Trails

Julia butterfly at Cypress Dome Trails

 I n the designing of an outdoor oasis that includes an eco-friendly yard, switching to organic pest control options might be the most obvious place to start. However there are other steps to take that can provide tranquil and beautiful spaces for enjoying time outdoors.

Reduce the amount of grass that needs cutting and irrigated by converting the lawn to a mixed landscape that includes decorative stone walkways, as well as areas accented with decorative pavers or stones. This sets the stage for showcasing outdoor lawn furniture and enjoying more outdoor dining time.

When choosing ground covers that not only reduce water usage but also save time and energy in lawn maintenance consider plants for their texture and density, as well as how high they grow and how well they spread and choke out weeds.

Set aside an area for a special butterfly habitat. To preserve this safe haven, do not use any kind of pesticide. Register with the North American Butterfly Association ( to certify the safe site butterfly garden.  

Use rain barrels to collect rainwater from the roof, gutters and downspouts of the house, and use it on plants. To avoid mosquitoes that lay their larvae in such recesses, use all the water in the barrel within five days. Treat the water with one tablespoon of ecofriendly liquid dish soap; that creates a protective film on the surface of the water.

Avoid gas-powered lawn equipment that is among the worst air-polluters. When possible, use a manual push mower or an electric lawnmower.

Ryan Scofield is the owner of Two Tired Services. For more information on eco-friendly landscaping and lawn care, call 239-302-8922 or visit

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