When you give back to the earth, it can give back to you. Spend the beginning of spring giving your property some eco-friendly attention. We’ve got seven of the most effective ways you can improve your relations with mother earth, both inside and outside the house.

1. Start a Compost Pile

Composting helps restore nutrients to the soil and allows you to create less waste for the garbage man to take away. At the most basic level, composting is maintaining a balance of brown and green organic items.

What to Compost:

close-up of composted fruit and vegetables
  • Eggshells
  • Banana peels
  • Bag-less used coffee grounds and tea leaves
  • Wine corks (torn or chopped into pieces for faster decomposition)
  • Leaves
  • Other organic waste

Think about how much waste you could prevent from going to a landfill if you only threw away inorganic matter!

What NOT to Compost:

  • Ashes
  • Meat
  • Bread (including cake)
  • Cat litter
  • Pet waste
  • Glossy paper—even if it’s shredded, it won’t break down very easily

Being toxic or having a tendency to attract pests are what make these non-compostable items bad. Some non-compostable materials can even be harmful to you or the environment.

Bottom line: Composting is easy, it restores nutrients to the soil, and it prevents unnecessary waste.

2. Change All Your Bulbs to Eco-Friendly Lightbulbs

This project might seem small, but you probably have more lightbulbs than you think, and getting up and down the ladder to reach the high bulbs takes considerable effort. You can burn calories in addition to helping the environment and your electric bill at the same time!

Energy-efficient lightbulbs can last anywhere from 3 to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs. Plus, you can get them in warm, cool, or daylight tones.

3. Insulate Pipes

Insulating your water pipes will save money on your water heating bill and keep you prepared for the last few gusts of winter. Having better insulated pipes translates to less energy used to heat up water. It’s easy, affordable, and takes very little time.

Even if the temperatures only dip down one more time before the summer (never underestimate the ferocity of that last-minute cold snap—you know, the one that happens after you’ve already switched out your seasonal wardrobes), you’ll be ready to go for next winter.

4. Install a Tubular Skylight

Installing a tubular skylight requires less effort than installing an actual skylight, but it gives you plenty of light when you need it in the daytime. Taking advantage of the natural light means you don’t have to use as much electricity and extends the life of those eco-friendly bulbs you just put in.

Where do you install such a thing? I’m glad you (sort of) asked.

  • Hallways
  • Stairwells
  • Home offices
  • Other places that don’t get much natural light

5. Plant Trees

hands planting a young fir treeTrees can shade your house and your A/C unit, which reduces the cost of your energy bill. They also serve as barriers against sound, so if you live on a busy suburban road, they’re a great natural choice. The right tree for you will depend on several factors, including:

  • Your budget
  • How tall and wide you want the trees to grow
  • Where you’re planting them, such as along your property border or next to your house
  • What grows best in your area—you don’t want to invest in an exotic tree that’s going to die because it’s not native to your area.

If you start planning now, you’ll have the perfect Earth Day project to share with friends.

6. Plant a Garden

Gardens are beautiful, and they provide the necessary nutrition for bees to pollinate crops to produce food. Research what kinds of flowers attract honeybees in your area. Bees are decreasing in number more quickly than we can afford.

To help the declining bee population, plant flowers that are not pretreated with pesticides, and refrain from using other pesticides that affect bees. You’ll help save a species and, potentially, the way of life as we know it.

You can also use a garden space to plant food.

Nothing tastes better in the middle of summer than homegrown corn-on-the-cob to go with steak and a salad made of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Waste from these crops, like corn shucks, will be great additions to your new compost pile.

7. Build a Birdhouse or Install a Hummingbird Feeder

red-brown hummingbird eating from a hummingbird feederInvite wildlife into a house or dining room of their own on your property. You can make building a birdhouse a family affair, from buying the materials to hanging it up.

A good complement to a birdhouse is a bird feeder. Squirrels might mooch off it, but you’re still promoting wildlife.

Hummingbirds will also greatly benefit from an additional food source, and hummingbird feeders are less susceptible to squirrels’ thievery.

Bats also like a place to stay every now and then. Think of bat houses as a natural Airbnb. Your repayment is knowing you helped an animal or two.

Giving Back to the Earth Is Easy

When you’re looking to give back to the earth, there is no shortage of options, and spring is the perfect time to get out and start rebuilding your vitamin D supply. The environment is our home just as much as our houses are—maybe even more so.

Make upgrades to your property that help preserve the home we share with nature by separating inorganic waste from compostable waste, saving energy, and encouraging wildlife to share your space.