Home & Garden

5 ways to use plants to upgrade your home

Are you taking full advantage of your plants? Believe it or not, trees, bushes and flowers are good for more than just adding color to your yard. Whether they're slowing fires, providing food or increasing your home security, your plants shouldn't just sit in a pot. Here are six ways you can use them to revamp your space.

1. Improve home security

Thoughtful landscaping is a quick way to beef up your home safety. Place thorny plants like roses or blackberry bushes beneath points of entry like windows to create a deterrent for potential intruders. Other defensive greenery includes firethorn and Spanish dagger. And trees are a great way to add privacy. Keep in mind that some of these plants are toxic if ingested and may have thorns, so keep them away from small children and pets and do your research before planting.

2. Attract pollinators to garden

Whether you enjoy waking up to the sound of songbirds, watching butterflies flutter or simply want to help save the bees, plants that attract pollinators can really enhance your garden. Sunflowers and black-eyed Susans are feathered favorites thanks to their tasty seeds. And bees and butterflies are attracted to lavender and sage. Play around with your plants to see what works the best for your space and watch your yard turn into a haven for wildlife.

3. Slow the spread of fire

Though some dry, brush-like plants can increase your risk of fire, other kinds of greenery could offer your home some protection. Think about adding fire-resistant plants to your landscaping to slow the spread of flames in the event of a wildfire. Green strips of vegetation covered with fire-resistant plants like rockcress and columbine can provide a small firebreak. A yard full of watered, healthy grass is also helpful. Consult with a fire-prevention pro for the best tips and advice on protecting your home. Note that while plants can help slow fire slightly, they likely will not stop the flames, and it is best to practice fire safety in the event of a disaster.

4. Provide fresh produce

There's no need to run to the store every time you need a tomato. Instead, let nature do the work and revamp your space with a home garden. Buy some large, colorful pots for decoration and stock up on seeds from your favorite veggies. Bell peppers, green beans and cucumbers are all good beginner vegetable crops. Creating your own personal produce section is an easy and useful way to reinvent your backyard.

5. Cool the air inside

Whether they're inside or outside, plants will help cool the air in your home. Placing trees strategically so they shade your house can cut down on the need for air conditioning and improve your home's energy efficiency. And having potted plants around can chill the interior by several degrees. If you've exercised your green thumb and find you're still struggling to keep your home cool, consider consulting an air conditioning professional.

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