If your spring to-do list includes backyard projects such as building a patio or decorative landscaping, here are some eco-friendly ways to accomplish your goals:
Choose greener materials
Long gone are the days when it was difficult to find building materials created with sustainable manufacturing processes. Today, you can find products such as pavers and even paver base – used in patio-building – that are not only made from recycled materials, but also are 100 percent recyclable.
For example, to build a greener patio, start with Brock PaverBase, which holds the coveted “Cradle to Cradle” certification that recognizes a product’s safety for people and the environment, and design for future life cycles. The overlapping panel system makes prepping the ground for patio pavers quick and easy, eliminating more of the time-consuming and labor-intensive aspects of traditional patio-building – all while delivering a better looking, professional-quality result. You can learn more at www.brock-international.com.
When building products made from recycled materials aren’t available, consider ones that are naturally sustainable. Such products can also provide a unique look. Bamboo, for example, is gaining popularity as a fencing and decking material and it’s eco-friendly because it’s fast-growing and durable. Cedar is another decking and fence product that is naturally “green,” because it is naturally resistant to moisture – making it more durable. It also contains natural oils that prevent rot without the chemical treatments needed by other woods such as pine, and it can be recycled and used for other building projects.
Energy and water consumption are also important considerations when greening your backyard environment. Opting for solar-powered pathway, deck and accent lighting – rather than traditional electric lights – is a great way to reduce the environmental impact of your outdoor living space, while saving money on your utility bill. It’s easy to find a wide variety of solar lighting styles, whether you look online or at your local home improvement store.
Reducing water waste is also important for the environment and your wallet. If you have a lawn sprinkler system, be sure to avoid watering during the hottest hours of the day when water will evaporate off the grass before it had time to sink into the soil. Timers on a sprinkler system can also help conserve water. You can also recycle rainwater to irrigate backyard flowerbeds. Simply set up a rain barrel to collect water.
Finally, think about the furnishings you’ll use on your patio or deck. While plastic may seem durable – and cheapest to buy – consider what will happen to the furniture once it’s no longer usable. Furnishings made from recyclable materials like wood or iron may be kinder to the environment in the long run. You can also look for furniture made from recycled products. Or, visit garage sales and give old wood or metal lawn furniture a fresh coat of paint, some new cushions – and a new life in your environmentally friendly outdoor space.