Sure, we all covet a luxurious lawn. But maintaining a plush, verdant expanse consumes tremendous resources. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 7.8 billion gallons of water go toward outdoor use each year. That's not to mention the gas used to rev up all those mowers. Thankfully, your grass can be environmentally sound and still make your neighbors green with envy. Check out www.safelawns.org for more pointers.

  • Give it a push—Park that gas-guzzling cutter and pick up an electric or push mower, which use far less energy and make less noise in the neighborhood. You might even plow through some calories in the process.
  • Conserve water—Water your yard early in the morning to limit sun evaporation, and aerate your lawn once a year to increase water penetration. For the truly committed: Collect rainwater from your roof, or install a gray water–treatment system that recycles water from indoor baths, sinks, and dishwashers.
  • Go green—Trade synthetic fertilizers for organic ones made from bonemeal, mulch, manure, and compost. These carbon-based growth enhancers pose no danger to ecosystems, children, or pets.

—M.J.