Anyone lucky enough to have outdoor space knows the wonder that gardens can bring: fragrant plants, curious wildlife, and maybe some fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies. Beyond that, our yards can also be managed in ways that benefit surrounding ecosystems and the world at large.

“If we look at our home plots as this refuge for nature and wildlife, and we can start connecting those dots, then we can create these living greenways that act and behave like a natural system that sequesters carbon and supports biodiversity,” Emily Murphy, an organic gardener and the author of Grow What You Love, tells mbg.

Consider this an endorsement for lazy gardening: By stepping aside and letting nature take its course, working with its cycles and not against them, we can cultivate sustainable outdoor spaces where wildlife of all kinds can thrive. In return, these visitors will do what they do best: keep our air, soil, and water clean, healthy, and buzzing with activity.

Here, experienced gardeners weigh in on how to maintain a low-impact, high-reward garden this summer:

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