As the environmental movement continues to pick up steam, we’ve seen more homeowners looking to “green building” alternatives that leave behind a minimal carbon footprint. Luckily there are plenty of ways to add eco-friendly features to the inside of your home. However, you don’t want to neglect the eco-friendliness of your outdoor living space.
Depending on where your live, you may spend a lot of time in your yard soaking up the sun or hosting parties. If you’re looking for more ways to enhance the energy efficiency of your home while adding style and comfort to your outdoor digs, we’ve got a handful of tips to help you go green with your outdoor living space.
1. Use Green Materials for Renovation Projects
Does your decking leave something to be desired? You may want to install a wood deck, and you should ask if your contractor can utilize reclaimed or recycled wood. Many lumberyards work with local renovation companies to supply recycled materials. Other materials you can recycle include railroad ties, wrought iron, and concrete. Not only are these substances better for the planet, but they also can create a beautiful, unique aesthetic that will get houseguests talking.
2. Implement Innovative Technologies
In addition to installing eco-friendly lighting inside your home, you can use them to illuminate your outdoor space as well. One popular fixture is a motion detector. That way, instead of leaving the lights on all night long, they only turn on when something moves in the vicinity. These days, there are plenty of new devices and apps that help you save energy from your phone. With a decent WiFi connect, you can control your energy efficient outdoor lights from your smartphone or laptop.
3. Bring in Eco-Friendly Furniture
It is incredibly enjoyable to have a leisure area in your front or backyard where you can sit back and relax. Instead of buying completely new furniture, consider purchasing secondhand items you find at garage sales or antique stores. Finding, refurbishing, and customizing used outdoor furniture can add tons of character to your outdoor space.
If you can’t nab secondhand wood furniture to decorate your outdoor living space, furniture made from recycled materials like POLYWOOD are a good alternative.
4. Merge Outdoors With Indoors
If you’re looking for a large-scale remodeling project, then consider blurring the lines between the exterior and interior of your home. You can install a pass-through window that connects your kitchen to your outdoor living space, allowing you to cook a delicious meal while truly feeling a part of nature. There are other options available that allow you to bring in a cool breeze inside your home without allowing bugs inside. This will make you less dependent on your home’s HVAC system.
5. Use Reclaimed Water
Keeping your flower garden and trees healthy and vibrant requires a lot of water, which is bad for the environment and increases your water bill every month. You stand to save money by utilizing reclaimed water solutions. These are drainage systems that are able to collect rainwater runoff that goes toward irrigating foliage. Consider working with a landscaping professional experienced in water conservation techniques to make sure your outdoor water system is as green as possible.
6. Build a Children’s Play Area From Recycled Materials
Give your kids a fun and safe place to play by building an eco-friendly outdoor play set. You may have seen playgrounds and schools using recycled rubber tires as ground covering over the last few years. You can do the same in your own yard! Not only is it great for the Earth, but it is also provides an additional layer of safety. If your kids fall down, then the rubber will help cushion the fall. You can also acquire these tires in a variety of colors, so you can customize the play area to be perfectly suitable for your children. Tires also last much longer than traditional wood mulch, so you will benefit from this investment for years to come.
About the Author
Gregg Cantor is President and CEO of Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel, a design-build firm serving San Diego homeowners since 1975. Murray Lampert is proud to be a Green Certified firm and strives to be leading green construction contractor in San Diego.