As society becomes more and more environmentally conscious, as individuals it can sometimes feel like we’re not doing enough. While big change requires effort from everyone, there are countless ways in the comfort of your own home to do your part. If you’re already living an eco-friendly lifestyle indoors, one simple and effective way to do more is to carry that lifestyle outside. Many people are unaware of the many ways you can make your outdoor yard space just as eco-friendly as your indoor space.
If you have any furniture in your yard, there are several great environmentally conscious options to add on or replace them with.
One example is polywood. Polywood furniture is constructed using recycled plastic materials, much of which is post consumer bottle waste–milk jugs, detergent bottles, etc. Overproduction and overconsumption of plastic is a huge environmental issue, so utilizing recycled plastic in any form in your life helps reduce toxic waste. Plus, polywood is impervious to moisture and resistant to corrosive materials, so if you want weather resistant patio furniture, this is a great, long lasting option. Whether you’re looking for big or small patio furniture ideas, polywood comes in all sizes.
Another eco-friendly furniture option for your yard space is rattan furniture, which is made from a naturally renewable palm that grows in forests across Africa and Asia. This palm is a great alternative to hardwood, because it can be grown and harvested in a 2 year time span, compared to the 20-30 years it takes for trees. Generally, rattan furniture is woven into a wicker-like structure. Rattan crop production also supports many small villages across South and Southeast Asia.
It should be noted, however, that natural rattan is not impervious to moisture, therefore it is not the most suitable as long-lasting outdoor furniture unless your yard space is covered from weather in some way, or you have waterproof patio furniture covers.
Shopping locally for outdoor materials is always a great way to support your community while also being environmentally conscious. Buying locally sourced materials reduces the extra fuel needed to ship them. Reducing fuel means reducing carbon miles, which is one of the biggest factors in global carbon emissions. Another plus of shopping local is obtaining items that are fresh and unique to your area, making them one of a kind. Who doesn’t like that?
If you’re looking to build a patio area for your yard, you might want to consider using permeable patio pavers rather than the traditional impermeable concrete or asphalt. There are many reasons permeable patios are a good idea for a yard space, but the environment likes them because they allow natural water flow, are structured sustainably, and are made with eco-friendly materials.
When a patio is paved with concrete, rainwater has nowhere to soak, and that creates unfiltered runoff that can collect harmful pollutants. Because of the way permeable patios are constructed using multiple layers of aggregate, they absorb heat in the summer and are ice-free in the winter. Even better, if you’re looking for backyard ideas on a budget, permeable patios are often cheaper than pouring concrete, and are easier to make.
If it’s time for the holidays, or you simply just want to add some lighting decor to brighten up your outdoor space, consider buying LED lights instead of traditional plug-ins. One of the many reasons LED lights are so much better for the environment than incandescents is because they are so much more efficient. LEDs can save 80-90% electricity comparatively. Saving energy lowers the load on electric plants, which lowers the overall fuel being burnt to generate electricity.
Other environmental benefits of LED lights include reducing light pollution and reducing heat emittance, which in turn attracts less bugs. Not only that, but LED lights have zero chemical substances in them that could be harmful to the environment or any person. Search the web for some DIY backyard lighting ideas and create a bright, unique, environmentally conscious oasis.
Whether you’re looking to revamp your outdoor space or start from scratch, there are so many ways to incorporate eco-friendly materials while still maintaining a beautiful yard. Not only does it help the environment, it helps everyone. Share some of these ideas with neighbors and together you can help create the green community you deserve.