Phone Apps for Home DIY and Sustainability

Starting or maintaining a more sustainable approach to living can be immensely challenging. Many eco-friendly endeavors such as gardening require enormous knowledge and the acquisition of new skills.

To that end, I’d like to present a list of smart phone apps I think are helpful for anyone interested in growing her own crops or greening her home. Whether you’re a veteran or beginner to these practices, you’ll find these apps make it easy to find ideas you can implement to help you achieve greater independence and reduce your pollution output.

The Gardening Guide

Mother Earth News; Food Gardening Guide.This wonderfully colorful and vibrant app provides a wealth of gardening tutorials and resources. If you’re new to backyard gardening, this resource provides useful and understandable how-to guides for just about all aspects of the endeavor. More seasoned green thumbs will appreciate guides to techniques such as creating your own potting soil and planting self-seeding crops. Created by Mother Earth News, the app’s organic gardening lessons are enjoyable and well written, though some users may not like the ads in this free app.

(Free on iTunes and Google Play Store)

Landscaper’s Companion

Whereas ‘The Gardening Guide’ offers projects and tutorials, the ‘Landscaper’s Companion’ serves as an encyclopedic reference, covering plant life in the US, UK, and Australia. To give you an idea of the scale of this app, it features no less than 20,000 plants and 14,000 photos, according to its creator. Perhaps the crowning feature of this mega-sized app is its helpful search feature, which enables you to narrow plants by type, requirements, and other characteristics. Furthermore, you can add your own notes to plant profiles and mark your favorites for easy retrieval.

($4.99 on iTunes and Google Play Store)

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

Of course, if you are growing your own food, you’ll want an app like the excellent, iPhone-only ‘How to Cook Everything Vegetarian’. Based on the book of the same name by Mark Bittman, the app features many wonderful meal ideas. Its search includes filters to enable you to find recipes incorporating your own harvest.

($4.99 on iTunes)

Vegetarian Cookbook

On my Android-based T-Mobile smartphone I use this simple app , which is serviceable but not quite as exquisite as ‘How to Cook Everything’.

($0.99 on Google Play Store)

Green Savings Calculator

If you’re looking for ways to reduce your energy costs and your environmental impact, the ‘Green Savings Calculator’ offers an excellent starting point. The app features home improvement projects from floor to roof and calculates how much money you might save by undertaking them. In all honesty, I’m not sure how accurate the long-term estimates of this app are, but I still enjoy it for finding ideas. And frankly, it’s fun to play with.

(Free on iTunes and Google Play Store)


Wiki how screenshot showing top categories: Arts & Entertainment, Cars & Other vehicles etc.Of course, all the ideas in the world don’t amount to anything if you can’t implement them. That’s where WikiHow’s fun, free app comes in handy. There’s much to wade through in this extensive resource, but you’ll find handy gems like ‘How to Build a Solar Panel’ and ‘How to Wash Cloth Diapers.’ In my experience, WikiHow’s articles are helpful and can be very informative. The entries aren’t always as in-depth as I would like, but I have still found many wonderful ideas that I’ve put to use.

(Free on iTunes and Google Play Store)

Ashlee McCullen is a staff writer for, a website about kitchen fashion and home style. She also writes about mobile technology and self-improvement.

Do you have any favourite apps you use in your efforts to live more sustainably?