Today B and I went for a walk which lead us through a new housing development. There are houses still being built, houses people are living in and lots that are a dumping ground for construction debris. As we walked I was reminded of when Joe built our backyard patio. We found so much crap when we excavated...bricks, coffee cups, chucks of concrete, siding, paper, insulation, water bottles. It really is no wonder that after 4 years we still have been unable to get our lawn to grow. Hell we can't even get it to be grass...it is just patches of weeds and sharp pointy plants.
Our house was the access point for all the other houses on our side of the street. Construction equipment drove all over our backyard to get to our neighbours houses. In doing so they used our backyard as a dumping ground. Today I saw it happening again and it is always the house on the corner that it happens to. I contacted the 2 main builders in that new development to find out what they do with their debris and the one who did get back to me told me that their debris goes into bins and then ends up as fill. But it appears that not every builder has this policy and that sometimes debris and waste ends up buried under the thinnest layer of "topsoil" possible.
The environmental impacts of these activities include:
Increased water, seed and fertilizer usage - When we first moved in we watered our lawn as often as we were allowed (once a week) in order to try and save the lawn. We also spend every spring and fall seeding and fertilizing in an attempt to stimulate growth.
Sod replacement - We have 2 neighbours who have had to replace their lawn twice in 6 years. There is really no other option for us as well and so it looks like we will have to rip up the "lawn" and lay down new top soil and sod (or seed).
Now if you are building a new home there are some things you can do to prevent this from happening.
* Look for a builder with a history of green initiatives
* Visit the builders current work sites to see their practices in action
* Ask exactly what they do with all the waste being generated during the build
If you already live in a home where you have a similar problem to what we have there is hope!
* Try to save your lawn for 1 season. Seed in the fall and winter and see if you can bring it back.
* Look for grass alternatives like building gardens or sitting areas or laying down clover.
* Install a sprinkler system. This will ensure you use less water than a traditional sprinkler
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