Wherever you go these days, people are talking about the environment. It’s a major issue in politics, science, and at the gas pumps, as the warmer weather brings steadily rising prices per gallon all over the country. Environmental sustainability is now a legitimate aspect of the planning that goes into new corporate and private construction, and homeowners are starting to come around as well. People are installing solar panels to minimize their environmental footprint, using recycled materials in housing construction, and buying energy efficient appliances to replace the traditional ones around the house. And when it comes to backyard landscaping, green thumbs everywhere are realizing it’s easy to be eco-friendly. You want a comfortable and beautiful yard space that doesn’t break the bank. Luckily, it’s not terribly difficult to join those desires with an environmentally conscious approach. Here are a few tips for eco-friendly backyard design in your home.
First off, consider using recycled materials for your backyard building needs. Construction projects regularly buy too many raw materials, and when new installations replace the old, the leftovers are usually hauled away to the dump. Your backyard is a great place to repurpose some of these recycled materials to great effect. If you’re building some sort of counter space, wall or fountain, consider incorporating recycled glass. Wine bottles make incredible mosaics, giving your backyard a unique, classic look. And if you’re pulling up old and crumbling driveways or patios, don’t just send the materials off to a landfill. You can repurpose the concrete as crushed stone, which you can then use all over the yard. And when it comes to your garden, there’s almost no need to buy new. Recycled mulch will excel in your planting beds or playground areas, and you’ll be happy knowing you’re helping to protect our forests.
When it comes to your greenery, being eco-friendly in the backyard comes down to thinking strategically with your planting efforts. Trees should be a primary focus. They help all the other plant life, and create eco-friendly shade during those hot summer days. Plant deciduous trees on the south or west sides of your home for optimum efficiency. Besides offering that delicious shade during the hot months, they’ll shed their leaves in the fall and winter, allowing the sunlight through to naturally heat your home. If you’re thinking of covering over your patio, consider a living roof instead of new wood. Put up a lattice and set up vines to grow across them. It’s environmentally friendly, and the greenery will actually cool the patio space much more efficiently. Plants release water through their leaves when the weather turns hot, helping to refresh you while spicing the air with an incredible fragrance.
Finally, be eco-friendly with your water use. Most people use way too much water on their landscaping, and you can cut that down significantly by planting things that require similar amounts of watering. Then spend the extra money to install automatic sprinkler systems that have different zone settings, so you can water the grass, trees and garden on their own schedules. And if you are going to install water features, such as a garden pool or wall fountains, make sure the system is set up to recycle as much of the water as possible. You’ll get the look you want, while keeping an eye on the future of our planet.