Creating “Green” Outdoor Spaces

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Well, we’re officially into spring, even though Mother Nature is still throwing curve balls at us.  But soon enough we’ll be able to enjoy warmer temperatures and spend more time in the great outdoors.  Looking to beautify a bland backyard?  Keep in mind these eco-friendly elements that are sure to add some pizzazz to your outdoor spaces.

NATURAL FEATURES

  • Native plants and flowers require less maintenance, water and fertilizers.  Learn more from my earlier post on low-maintenance plants and learn why they’re important.
  • Fruit trees and vegetable/herb gardens not only add beauty, but functionality to your yard.  How great would it be to feed your family fresh food from your very own garden this summer?!  Fragrant herbs can add a lovely border around patios.
  • Plant a rain garden.  These shallow depressions in your yard contain plants and grasses that filter runoff/pollutants coming from your roof, driveway, street, walkway or lawn, before they end up in our fresh waterways.  They’re not only functional, but beautiful!  Learn more here.
  • Collect water with a rainbarrel so you don’t have to turn on the hose to water your lawn and garden.

STRUCTURES

  • A reclaimed wood or FSC-certified wood pergola with some native vine plants growing on it will provide dappled shade to your lounge area beneath it.
  • Decking and fencing made from recycled plastics and wood are low maintenance and long lasting, but be sure to purchase a composite product made from recycled/reclaimed materials.  If you need to maintain an existing wood deck or fence, use eco-friendly stains, sealers and paints, such as those made by AFM Safecoat, BioShield, The Sinan Company or other environmentally-conscious company.
  • A clean-burning outdoor fireplace will add some heat to cool nights.  The hottest models are those burning ethanol from agricultural by-products.
  • Pavers for walkways and patios made from recycled rubber look amazing!  See for yourself in my previous post!

DECORATIVE ACCENTS

  • Fountains powered by solar-powered pumps that use recycled water add the soothing sound of babbling water to your tranquil space.
  • Recycled glass can be used as mulch or dazzling landscape accents.  Check out my earlier post here.
  • Outdoor furniture made with innovative materials such as reclaimed skis and snowboard equipment, sustainable wood or recycled plastics (from green-minded companies like Loll Designs, pictured here, Poly-Wood and others) can be used as focal points.
  • Solar lighting has been improving and can be used for walkways, lampposts, garden accents, and even as spot lights and flood lights.

Tag(s): Green Design, The Great Green Outdoors

Comments

4 Responses to “Creating “Green” Outdoor Spaces”

  1. Creating “Green” Outdoor Spaces | Your Green Ability on March 31st, 2011 2:33 am

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  3. ines on March 31st, 2011 3:15 pm

    I’m already doing some of this.

  4. Sheila on May 19th, 2011 11:30 pm

    There are independent artists making some beautiful pieces made of reclaimed wood. Check out sites like Artfire and Etsy for some nice pieces.

    Also keep in mind that cedar shingles are often treated with chemical preservatives. If you use a rain barrel to collect runoff from your cedar roof, don’t use that water on anything you plan to eat.

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