First, use compost instead of synthetic fertilizers. Compost provides a full complement of soil organisms & the balance of nutrients needed to maintain the soil’s well-being without the chemicals of synthetic fertilizers. Healthy soil minimizes weeds & is key to producing healthy plants, which in turn prevents many pest problems from developing.
Use native plants as much as possible. Native plants have adapted over time to the local environment & support native animals. They also use less water and require less of your attention.
Focus on perennials. Gardening with plants that live for more than one year means you don’t have to pay for new plants every year; it also saves resources used commercially to grow annuals.
Stop using chemical pesticides. American households use 80 million pounds of pesticides each year, according to the EPA. These toxic chemicals escape gardens & concentrate in the environment, posing threats to animals & people, especially children. A better alternative is to try a variety of organic & physical pest control methods, such as using diatomaceous earth to kill insects, pouring boiling water on weeds or using beer to bait slugs. Find more non-chemical pest control tips at the National Audubon Society’s site.
Finally, consider using an old-fashioned push mower. The only energy expended is yours.