Have you noticed your electric bills rising as the summer months get longer? Do you feel like you are using too much water to maintain your yard? Are you itching to update your outdoor space as the summer nights get longer?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone! Check our top tips for building an eco-friendly outdoor space.
Lay a Green Foundation
The first thing to consider when you are trying to create a more eco-friendly outdoor space is your hardscape.
Hardscape is anything man made that is used in your landscaping like patios, pavers, or sidewalks. To make these features more eco-friendly, choose hardscape options that will reduce your water and energy consumption.
Doing so is actually easy.
When you are designing a new patio, pool, or walkway, choose low-maintenance, eco-friendly options. There are plenty of pavers, bricks, and wood that is made from recycled materials. For example, installing pavers is a great way to save on water because they are low maintenance -- no power washing needed!
Concrete is also an easy, eco-friendly alternative material to use for new hardscape features. Other options for an eco-friendly patio solution include porous pavement, open concrete grids, and permeable “tiles”.
Check out this article from Gardenista to learn more about your options!
Reducing water consumption in your landscaping might seem a bit more difficult. However, there are many eco-friendly options that will help your yard go green.
The best way to start making your landscape eco-friendly is to create a xeriscape design for your backyard.
“Xeriscape” literally means “dry landscape” as it comes from the Greek word "xeros" that means "dry”. Xeriscape landscaping is an outdoor design trend that helps minimize water consumption. It is not only environmentally friendly but is also aesthetically unique.
According to The Spruce, xeriscaping focuses on 3 separate ideas:
what plants you choose to grow
what plants you should avoid growing
how to organize your plants
The Xeriscaping principle rule is to create a garden that makes sense in your environment.
For example, watering lawns is the top culprit of water consumption in our outdoor space. A common xeriscape practice is to replace a “normal” lawn with grass that requires less water to be maintained.
Replace your current lawn with grasses like buffalo grass and blue grama grass that are drought resistant and can survive off of rainfall. Replanting with efficient grass will dramatically reduce your water consumption-- especially during summer months!
Another practice embraced by Xeriscaping is creating irrigation “zones”.
Creating these zones is easy. You simply have to consciously group plants together based on their watering needs. You could also replace unused areas of lawn with mulch or gravel to save water.
Making these eco-friendly choices while designing your hardscape will reduce your costs and lay the foundation (literally) for your green outdoor area!
Create Your Space
Once you have crafted the foundation to build your eco-friendly outdoor space on, it is time to add the finishing touches.
Maybe you want to create a fire pit area or add an outdoor grilling space. Maybe you’d like to create a seating area under a gazebo to suit your needs. Or maybe you are ready to add a full outdoor kitchen to your space.
There are plenty of ways to make your outdoor living space eco-friendly and maintain a great design aesthetic.
Let’s take a look at all these tips in details.
How a Gazebo Can Make Your Yard More Eco-Friendly
Did you know that a gazebo can help you make your yard more environmentally friendly?
Place it near your house so it casts a shadow on the house walls or windows and it will help you to save on cooling bills in summer.
Plus, having a gazebo makes your outdoor space more welcoming in summer. You may probably spend less time inside and it may again help you to reduce your AC bills.
When it comes to choosing a gazebo, you can also make eco-conscious choices that can reduce the burden on our planet.
Go for a gazebo made of a naturally eco-friendly material such as wood.
Or choose one made of recycled plastic. It means less plastic will be left in landfills.
Finally, go with a hardtop gazebo instead of a soft-top one (read about the difference here). Soft-top gazebos are usually less sturdy and will eventually require you to get a new canopy due to its tear and wear. Buying a canopy replacement means contributing to the non-eco friendly process of making and shipping it!
Choose Eco-Friendly Patio Furniture
The number one recommendation Hatfield Builders and Remodelers’ gives to decorate your backyard in the summer is to create a fresh, new, and sustainable seating area.
Choose a place in your xeriscaped yard that will give you and your company a whole new perspective!
When you are shopping for outdoor furniture, try to choose options that are built to last.
For example, Adirondack chairs made out of eco-friendly wood like teak or eucalyptus are a great option that comes in varieties of colors that will make a big statement in your yard.
If wooden furniture options are too pricey or are just not your style, there are plenty of alternative eco-friendly materials. You can consider buying furniture made of recycled materials as mentioned in this post. Also, you can try experimenting with mixing in materials like stainless steel or synthetic wicker patio sets.
Incorporate Eco-Friendly Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting can really change the entire vibe of your entire space.
Even though we all love the idea of string lights throughout our backyard, getting creative with traditional bulbs can run up your electric bill quickly. Instead, try out some of these eco-friendly lighting options for the outdoors!
First, make the switch to using LED lights.
LED lighting is extremely energy efficient and can be used throughout your yard. Here, in this blog, we suggest starting with updating your landscape lighting. It not only “improves safety as it makes your backyard easier to navigate after dark, but it adds beauty and a sense of depth to your garden too”. Install solar-powered LED lights around your walkway, pool, or eating area to really add some magic to your space.
Second, install a device that would control your patio lights.
This is to make sure that they are only on in the hours you need them. It can be a timer or a motion sensor, or a light sensor that turns on lights when it gets dark outside.
Finally, don’t forget about candles!
Candles are a great, energy efficient lighting method that can really set the mood for an outdoor gathering. Just remember to blow them out at the end of the evening.
Have a Fire Pit? Consider Going With Eco Fuel
A fire pit is a great option for a conservation area. Everyone enjoys sitting around a bonfire when the sun goes down!
There are plenty of eco-friendly fuel options for your firepit. For example, use bioethanol fuel to light your fire. Bioethanol Fuel is made from organic byproducts and will minimize your firepit carbon footprint.
You can also opt to use natural gas or eco-friendly granulated briquettes: Check out these instructions for making your own DIY eco-friendly fire pit.
Building an eco-friendly outdoor space can be involved or as easy as you choose.
Whether you decide to xeriscape your yard, strategically replant your plants, or just switch out your old patio lights for LED bulbs, you are making progress towards creating a more efficient and eco-friendly outdoor space.
I am excited to explore some of these options and hope that you are feeling inspired to make an eco-friendly change too. If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, please feel free to share it with your friends!