Ten Steps To A Greener and Eco-Friendly Backyard Garden


Nowadays people are becoming more environmentally aware and are seeking ways to make their impact less intrusive. Recycling is a big issue now and the latest trend towards safer cleaning supplies and containers is also a big change in the right direction. But in the home we can also make a difference in the purchases we make and the furnishings we use. The backyard and garden are areas were we can begin to make changes to ensure a sustainable setting that is beautiful as well as helpful to the native environment.

1. Use Natural Sunlight

The first step is to begin using natural sources as much as possible and a good place to start is sunlight. By installing solar lights in your garden and backyard, you can enjoy good natural sunlight by day and have soft light at night at no cost. Based on your design theme, you can find solar lights in many styles, from small lights for highlights and strings to attach to the porch or gazebo, to ones built to look like rocks so that they are unobtrusive to the scenery. Adding a motion sensor allows you to trigger them only when needed so you’re still free to enjoy the peaceful night if you desire.

2. Try to Always Use Natural Materials

Another natural alternative also comes from the materials used to construct garden and backyard furnishings and decorations. Even though a plastic porch swing may be popular to most, try to purchase swings made from more natural materials. When choosing wood for paneling or deck work, choose varieties that were grown and harvested with the environment in mind and make sure they are durable. You want to avoid harsh chemicals and paints so this wood should be a type that ages well, like cedar. Another renewable eco friendly plant is bamboo and it is gaining wider acceptance and being used as fencing as well as other purposes. And don’t forget rocks in your garden as they can be used to great artistic effect if placed precisely.

3. Make Your Lawn Natural Again

This may seem like an odd step to take; after all wouldn’t the lawn be natural by default? Perhaps not as natural as you’d like to think. Most people use dangerous pesticides and other chemicals on their lawn to ensure a perfect green color and growth. Some also use grass types not native to their area which then requires more water than other grasses as well as a lot of maintenance. But here is an alternative. By using sustainable grasses, those that won’t require such extra help, as well as allowing native plants to grow in the lawn as well, you can still have a fantastic lush green lawn that can be easily cared for.

4. Use Only High Quality Wood, Properly Grown

Beware of woods that are harvested in a wasteful way. Since the eco friendly approach is to do as much as possible without leaving a large environmental footprint, you should buy items made only from woods harvested with sustainability in mind, or from a tree farm. Shop around until you also find high quality products. This will insure that the wood is durable and won’t require treatment with harsh chemicals. Some of these woods, in fact, age quite well and will reward you with enhanced natural beauty as time goes on.

5. A Classic Design Gives You Long Term Enjoyment

You want to pick furnishings and accessories for your garden and backyard décor that withstand the test of time. Nothing would be more frustrating them to choose a design theme, only to have it become passé within a few years and require a complete overhaul. Certain things are timeless, however, and are a welcome addition regardless of time or place. Choose a classic style for your larger items, such as umbrellas, chairs, picnic tables and the like, and add tasteful highlights such as colorful cushions and accessories. Even the flowers you choose to grow can add a classic touch. Use annuals to alter the colors as the seasons progress, and cool colored flowers for a softer touch. Adding brightly colored flowers can have the opposite effect, creating areas with a bright highlight where you want it.

6. Why You Should Cook Outdoors

Cooking outdoors is a great way to save money and energy in the home. During the summer the air conditioner is on and consumes energy, raising the utility bills accordingly and when the kitchen is in use the AC may be used at higher settings to offset the heat. You can save that money by going outside and starting up the grill or solar powered oven for dinner. Not only do you save but you gain as well. An outdoor dinner under the stars is something the entire family can enjoy and it’s something you can do as often as you like.

7. Carefree Landscaping

Using plants native to your area will greatly reduce the amount of maintenance you have to do on your garden and backyard. Since they are already used to the climate and rainfall, they don’t require extra water or special conditions. An even better benefit is that in the long term they will provide a habitat for the local birds, butterflies and other wildlife, adding to the beauty of your outdoor décor.

8. Water is Another Natural Element for the Green Garden

An overlooked addition that would benefit any outdoor design, water can add a soothing touch, a relaxing corner as a counterpoint to the more festive gathering areas like the barbecue. A solar powered fountain is the best of course, providing an energy free accessory. Other ways to use water include installing an inexpensive fish pond or using a water barrel to collect rain in areas where water conservation may be an issue.

9. Protect Your Long Term Investment

When you make purchases, for your home as well as for the outdoor décor, keep in mind their long term value. Don’t waste money on items that will require a lot of maintenance, or can’t be repaired or reused in some way. The last thing you want to do is contribute to the local landfill. Quality goods on the other hand, will last for a long time and can even be given away when you’re done with them so they can have the longest life possible. In this case, be wary of recyclable furnishings, as they require a lot of resources to reprocess.

10. Five R’s to Keep in Mind for Eco-Friendly Living

A final step to take on the road to living a more sustainable lifestyle is to keep in mind the five R’s, reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, and redecorate. Be careful of low quality goods that will need to be replaced quickly or that can’t be repaired and kept in use. You should do everything you can to make sure furnishings, accessories; indeed everything in your home has as much use life as possible. And when you’re done with it give it to a friend that may have need of it, or organize a sale if you have a lot of things you wish to be rid of. As much as possible, avoid throwing things out for the landfill. Recycle as much as you can.

An eco-safe environment is not difficult to create as long we make better choices and are aware of the impact we have on our habitat. Gone are the days where people could pretend that nothing they did affected anything else. Now it is up to us to create new sustainable practices from the ground up and teach our children how to live well so that nature can continue to sustain us all. And it all begins with how we furnish and care for our home and garden.

About the Author

Jay Chua is not only an outdoorsman and a nature enthusiast, but he also publishes the website, PorchSwingSets.com. Along with his wife, Deisy, he lives a green lifestyle in Vancouver, Canada, complete with organic fruit trees he has planted in his garden. If you would like further information on purchasing durable and sustainable outdoor furnishings such as single rope hatteras hammocks visit PorchSwingSets.com to see a plethora of options.

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  1. All the tips are really awesome. A Backyard Garden
    is essential to relax your mood anytime. You can stretch out a bit there and rejuvenate yourself.
    Really good post to read for all.

  2. Very useful tips for people especially those who just moved to a new house.

  3. Very useful tips for people especially those who just moved to a new house. ;))

  4. Hi All,

    Thank you very much for the comment & feedback!
    I always feel that everyone can do something different everyday to make our environment better. One thing at a day, not too much to ask for :)

    Go green and protect our mother’s earth.

    Jay Chua
    Publisher, PorchSwingSets.com

  5. “I always feel that everyone can do something different everyday” – I feel the same way too Jay, that is why I really love this website. Cheers! :)

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