Every person can do their part to help the environment with simple changes that start at home. Take a look in your backyard to transform the traditional harmful materials and methods into a thriving, green living space. Leave behind the energy wasting products and toxic chemicals by embracing these ten green tips for your garden and backyard designs.
1) Go Solar
Installing solar lights in the garden and on the patio is a great way to save energy usage and lower utility bills. Under the gazebo or the patio umbrella, along the deck railing or along the garden path, there are solar lights for every application. For a subtle look, pick up specialty solar lights designed to resemble garden rocks. If security is needed around your home, consider the energy savings of solar LEDs and motion sensor fixtures.
2) Get Grilling On The Patio
By taking your culinary expertise out onto the patio, you are saving cooling energy. Because the air conditioner won’t need to compete with the kitchen appliances, this is a big energy savings. Grill on the BBQ, cook over an open fire pit or even in an outdoor fireplace. There are plenty of recipes to taste and even more wonderful chances to enjoy a meal on the patio with your family.
3) Natural Materials Work Best
For your outdoor surfaces and hardscapes, building with natural materials will help to maintain an eco friendly design. Stone patios made with flagstone or slate are beautiful. Wooden decking can be environmentally friendly as well, when sustainable timber is used. If that timber also has a natural rot resistance you can avoid toxic paints and stains – cedar decking is a great choice that turns a classic grey color with time. Thyme planted among patio pavers are comfortable and low maintenance. Bamboo, a highly renewable and abundant natural resource, works well for your fences and other patio elements.
4) Landscape With Natives
Planting flowers, shrubs, grasses and trees that are native to your area will cut down on your water usage and the need for pesticides. Conserve fresh water and your own energy at the same time by using natives in your yard. The local birds, butterflies and wildlife will enjoy the habitat as well.
5) Green Lawns Are Changing
Our western culture is gradually becoming less fascinated with the perfect lawn, as the environmental effects of keeping it that way are beginning to show. Skip St. Augustine and plant native varieties for less maintenance or allow clovers and plantains to intermix with traditional sod for a soft green surface that will be more durable and naturally healthy in your yard.
6) Water Features for Fun And Atmosphere
Including a water feature in your backyard design adds a sense of calm that’s hard to match. Solar-powered fountains are good options and koi ponds provide a great spot for some wildlife of your own and a stellar water garden. Be sure to include a rain barrel system in the yard for easy and efficient watering of your containers, hanging baskets and flower beds.
7) Build With Certified Wood
From furniture to decking and fence materials, wood is often found in the yard. Making sure the wood that you choose is from a sustainably harvested forest is a step in the right direction. Green garden décor is built using certified wood, including red cedar that’s known for its resistance to rot and a distinct durability. Choosing these types of wood helps to maintain the environment and keep the wildlife safe from harm.
8) Long Term Gain For The Planet And You
Settling on low quality, disposable furniture is not for you. Purchase well made pieces that are built to last and avoid contributing them to the landfill. Quality garden décor and backyard furniture will keep you happy for years and can even be passed along to family and friends when it’s time for a change. Durable products maintain a good value and you may be surprised when you sell or donate quality backyard items during a redecorating.
9) Always Bank On The Classics
For a strong decor foundation, include classic styling in the main, larger pieces such as the tables, umbrellas and lounge chairs. Outdoors and in, the patio furniture will set the tone of your yard and can be dressed up with bold accents and simple accessories. Indoor porch furniture can have the same feel as outdoor, bringing the natural feeling into your sunroom. Adding flower beds and containers full of colorful blooms helps with seasonal themes. Try zinnias and primrose for brightness or delphinium and hyssop for cooler tones.
10) Practice Five “R’s” In Your Yard
You’re probably aware of “reduce, reuse and recycle,” but don’t leave out “repair and redecorate.” Shop for things you can keep a long time to reduce waste and reuse quality aged furniture. Examine whether an item can be recycled when disassembled. And take the time to fix up and spruce up your existing pieces to have the ultimate green garden and yard. Leave products made from petroleum in the stores and you’ll be leaving some toxic pollutants behind. Do your part and take these steps to go green in your yard. It’s simple and rewarding, knowing your family will live and play in a healthier environment both today and in the future.
Jay Chua enjoys living in Vancouver, Canada, close to the outdoors and in touch with nature. He and his wife Deisy love the portability of their hanging chair stand, believe in quality products and avoid harsh chemicals in their yard. PorchSwingSets.com has plenty of information on green outdoor living, as well as the latest and greatest in wooden porch swing set lines that cater to green needs.