Create an Eco-Friendly Outdoor Space

If you’ve been thinking about going “green” and doing your part to save the environment, why not start with your own home? Here are some ideas to help you create an eco-friendly outdoor space while saving money, and limiting the toxins your family and pets are exposed to. 

Choose Green Materials

Natural stone, brick, and permeable concrete pavers are great hardscape options for eco-friendly patios and walkways. Rubber paving stones and “bricks” and recycled plastic are also available in a wide variety of colors, textures, and shapes and help divert waste from landfills. If you plan to add a deck, consider using wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FCS) which assures that the wood has been harvested from responsibly managed forests.

Select Sustainable Patio Furniture

Look for patio furniture made from eco-friendly materials such as recycled plastic, reclaimed wood, or FCS-certified wood. Teak is well-known for durability, beauty, and strength and is a popular choice as a renewable resource that will look beautiful for years to come. Or you can simply reuse, recycle, and repurpose instead of purchasing new products. Consider rehabilitating second-hand iron or wood furnishings that may simply need refinishing, a fresh coat of paint, or some new cushions. Shop at thrift stores, consignment shops, or garage sales for older, unique items that will add character to your outdoor space.

Decorate with Nature

Consider using natural products to embellish your outdoor space. A birdbath, a small pond, and a few potted plants will not only look beautiful but can provide food, water, and shelter for birds and small animals. Craft unique sculptures, mosaics, ornaments, wind chimes, planters, steps, or wall art from stones or recycled metal, wood, and glass. Or use an old-fashioned wine barrel hooked up to a downspout for rainwater harvesting.

Garden with Native Eco-Friendly Plants

As you’re landscaping, keep sustainability in mind. By choosing plants native to your region, you not only minimize the transportation impact involved in getting the plant from the production point to your local garden center but also ensure the plants will require less water to thrive. You can immediately reduce your overall water consumption, lower your water bill, and still have a lush garden of native blooming flowers and foliage.

Choose Eco-Friendly Textiles

Purchase outdoor cushions made from environmentally friendly materials. Retractable and recyclable shades and canopies provide an energy efficient solution to cooling your house by protecting the glass from harmful RV rays as well as reduce the premature ageing of wood and fabric. Eco-friendly outdoor rug options include those made from natural, renewable materials such as jute, bamboo, and sisal.

Light the Way with Solar Energy

Skip the energy consuming floodlights and line your patio and walkways with solar lighting instead. Solar lighting will provide an ambient glow for outdoor parties and cast a soft light on flowerbeds. These lights are an easy way to reduce the environmental impact of your outdoor living space while saving money on your utility bill. Solar-powered outdoor lights are widely available and can be purchased at nearly any garden center or home store.

Use these tips and you’ll discover that you don’t have to sacrifice style as you go green. Creating an outdoor space can be even more satisfying when you take steps to make your project eco-friendly and reduce your carbon footprint.