The world is increasingly aware of the need to be eco-friendly. This means reducing reliance on fossil fuels, recycling and composting where possible, as well as limiting your impact on the environment. In fact, according to a recent Nielsen report, 48% of Americans would change their purchasing habits to minimize environmental effects and embrace a sustainable lifestyle.
However, it can be hard to get started. While it may seem like no small change you make will really help the environment, there are plenty of ways to make your life more eco-friendly. Start with your own backyard.
Backyards can be an essential part of this effort, as they provide a space to grow your own food, relax, and connect with nature. By doing things like saving water and conserving energy, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the environment.
Include Organic Materials
One way to make your backyard more eco-friendly is to use organic materials as much as possible. This means using natural products like wood, stone, and plants, rather than synthetic materials like plastic.
Organic materials are more environmentally friendly and can add to the aesthetic of your backyard, which will make it a more pleasant place to spend time. Common materials include:
- Bamboo: Bamboo is a versatile and sustainable material you could use for everything from fencing to sheds to flooring.
- Cork: Cork is another sustainable material you can use for a variety of purposes. For instance, cork is often used for flooring as it is durable and easily waterproofed, making it a perfect solution for pool houses, decks, or patios.
- Rattan: Rattan is a material often used in furniture due to its strength and flexibility. It can be used to make chairs or tables.
- Natural paints: Natural and organic paints are biodegradable. Using these to paint your backyard furniture or even your house can add a rustic charm while being better for the environment.
These materials are not only biodegradable but are also renewable, meaning they can be replenished more easily than non-renewable materials.
Light Up With Solar Power
Solar power is a great way to light up your backyard without using traditional and harmful methods such as gas or electricity. Solar lights are powered by the sun, so they are completely renewable and won't add to your carbon footprint.
There are several different solar lights you can use to light up your backyard, including:
- Solar lanterns can provide a decorative touch or provide light during a power outage.
- Solar string lights are perfect for outdoor parties or to add a bit of ambiance to your backyard.
- Solar-powered flood lights are ideal for security purposes or to light up a dark area of your yard.
In addition, solar lights are a great way to save money on your energy bill while still providing adequate, renewable lighting for your backyard.
Plant a Garden
Gardens are a great way to be sustainable, as they help reduce reliance on fossil fuels. By growing your fruits and vegetables, you cut down on the food you need from the grocery store. This reduces your carbon footprint and saves money in the long run.
Though a garden may seem like a big task, it's quite easy to start. Here are a few tips:
- Pick the right location: When choosing a spot for your garden, pick a place with plenty of sunlight. This ensures your plants have the light they need to grow.
- Get the proper supplies: Before you start planting, you'll need supplies such as soil, fertilizer, mulch, and seeds or seedlings.
- Choose what to grow: When deciding what to grow in your garden, consider what fruits and vegetables you and your family like to eat. This way, you'll be more likely to use the produce you grow.
- Prepare your plot: Once you've chosen your location and gathered your supplies, it's time to prepare your plot. This involves tilling the soil, which will help ensure your plants have enough room to grow.
- Tend your garden: Once your garden is set up, you'll need to water it regularly and pull weeds as they grow. You may also want to add compost to your garden to help give your plants the nutrients they need to thrive.
By following these tips, you can easily start your own garden and work toward being more sustainable.
Build a Natural Swimming Pool
A natural swimming pool is a great way to enjoy the water without harming the environment. Natural swimming pools maintain their environment using natural filtration systems and solar power swimming pool heaters rather than harsh chemicals. This makes them much better for the environment and safer for you and your family.
Moreover, natural swimming pools can add value to your property and provide a beautiful backyard oasis. With the addition of pool shed storage and pool furniture, you can create a luxurious backyard retreat the whole family will enjoy.
Include a Compost Bin
Composting is a wonderful way to improve the quality of your soil while also helping the environment. It’s a simple process of breaking down organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.
Composting can be done in your backyard or even on your balcony. Depending on your setup and space, you can choose from different types of compost bins, such as:
- Tumbler composters: These are a great option if you have a small space, as they can be easily turned to aerate the compost.
- Worm composters: Worms help speed up the composting process, making this type of bin ideal for those who want to compost quickly.
- In-ground composters: If you have a large backyard, you can dig a hole for your organic matter and compost it.
Starting a compost bin is easy and only requires a few simple steps:
- Pick the right location: When choosing a spot for your bin, pick a place close to your house with good drainage.
- Add the proper ingredients: To start composting, you'll need to add some organic matter to your bin. These include leaves, grass clippings, and fruit and vegetable scraps. You'll also need to add twigs or straw to help with aeration.
- Keep your compost bin aerated: Once you've added the proper ingredients to your bin, you'll need to turn it regularly to ensure it remains aerated. This helps speed up the composting process.
By composting, you can reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills and create a valuable soil amendment that will improve the health of your plants.
Save Water With Rain Barrels
Many environmentally conscious homeowners are looking for ways to reduce water usage, and one popular option is rain barrels. By collecting rainwater from your roof, you can use it for a variety of purposes around your home, such as:
- Filling your pool;
- Washing your car;
- Cleaning your gutters;
- Watering your garden.
Not only does this save water, but it can also save money on your water bill. However, it's important to check your local and state rainwater harvesting regulations and laws before setting up a rain barrel, as some areas have restrictions on rainwater collection. If you find that your state or area prohibits backyard water collection, you can also find other ways to save water in your backyard, such as xeriscaping instead of installing a traditional water-reliant lawn.
Use Eco-friendly Tools
When it comes to your backyard, there are several eco-friendly tools available that can help you reduce your impact on the environment. For example, consider using:
- An electric lawn mower;
- An electric leaf blower;
- A reel lawn mower;
- Handheld garden tools;
- Eco-friendly hoses and sprinklers;
- An eco-friendly garden shed to store tools in.
Using these tools and products minimizes your environmental impact and creates a more sustainable backyard.
Consider Eco-friendly Outdoor Furniture
Outdoor furniture can be a great way to add style and comfort to your backyard. However, traditional outdoor furniture is often made from materials that are not very eco-friendly, such as plastic or metal. If you're looking for a more sustainable option, consider sustainable outdoor furniture made from:
- Bamboo: Bamboo is often used to make chairs, tables, and other types of outdoor furniture.
- Recycled plastic: Recycled plastic is an excellent alternative to traditional outdoor furniture such as patio chairs and tables.
- Concrete: Concrete furniture is becoming increasingly popular due to its durability and eco-friendly credentials.
- Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus wood is often used for paneling, shades, or fencing.
Not only is it important to use these materials to create eco-friendly furniture, but it's also important to create a backyard space that is accessible for everyone. Make sure furniture is positioned to provide plenty of room for a person with mobility issues to get around. By doing so, you can make your backyard more enjoyable for everyone.
Use Organic Pest Control
If you're concerned about using chemicals in your backyard, consider using organic pest control methods. There are many effective organic pest control products available, such as:
- Diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that can kill various pests, including crickets, fleas, and ticks.
- Neem oil: Neem oil is a plant-based oil that repels and kills a variety of pests, including caterpillars, spider mites, and aphids.
- Spinosad: This natural substance derived from a soil bacterium kills leafminers, thrips, and ants.
- Pyrethrin: This plant-based insecticide kills flies, mosquitoes, and moths.
Using these products helps keep your backyard free of pests without the threat of dangerous chemicals.
In addition, there are other ways to prevent pests in the first place, such as:
- Keeping your yard clean: Pests are attracted to yards that are cluttered and unclean. Keeping your yard clean can make it less attractive to pests.
- Eliminating food and water sources: Pests are also attracted to yards that have food and water sources. Therefore, it's important to eliminate food and water sources, such as pet food, bird feeders, and standing water.
- Sealing up cracks and holes: Pests can enter your home through cracks and holes in the foundation or walls. Seal up any cracks or holes to prevent pests from getting inside.
- Plant pest-control herbs and plants: Some plants, such as marigolds and garlic, may help repel pests. Planting these herbs and plants in your yard might help keep pests away.
Living a sustainable life and creating an eco-friendly backyard doesn't have to be difficult. By making a few simple changes, you can reduce your environmental impact and create a backyard that’s both sustainable and stylish.