These days, making environmentally friendly choices at home is at the forefront of many people’s minds. From using less plastic to installing energy-efficient appliances, there are plenty of ways to be kinder to Mother Earth. Another fantastic way to go green? Revamping your backyard space.
A green landscape design has many benefits. Doing your part to protect the environment is of course, one of them, but going green can also help your wallet. Not to mention, you can improve your and your family’s health, reduce water usage, and spend less time on yard maintenance.
Not sure where to start? Whether you’re designing a new backyard or merely want to make your outdoor space more eco-friendly, there are plenty of ways to do so. Many people begin by making just one small change, like getting rid of chemical cleaning products. After one or two, they find that they’re ready to tackle bigger projects–like installing eco-friendly lighting.
So if you’re ready to help make the world a little bit greener (and spruce up your backyard space in the process), keep reading!
11 Ways To Create a Nature-Friendly Backyard Space
Here are 11 ideas for anyone who wants to give their backyard a green makeover.
1. Select Native Plants
No outdoor space is complete without beautiful greenery, but it’s critical to choose wisely. Some plants are meant to be grown in certain regions, and it’s best to choose the ones that are native to your climate.
This practice is known as Xeriscaping, and it has lots of benefits. Xeriscaping can help you:
- Use less water
- Make your backyard space more attractive to wildlife
- Spend less time maintaining your plants
While Xeriscaping is useful everywhere, it’s important in arid climates like the Southwest, where water is at a premium. Additionally, if you hope to attract pollinators to your garden, native plants are the best way to do so.
One of the challenges of designing an eco-friendly backyard is figuring out how to cover ground surfaces. If you’ve got a lot of surfaces to cover, consider adding mulch to your garden.
There’s a reason they call mulch the gardener’s friend–namely that it has all kinds of benefits.
- It’s essential for balancing soil temperature
- It provides plants with critical nutrients and keeps them thriving
- It helps reduce water evaporation rates
Some of the most common mulch varieties include wood chips, leaves, bark, and pine needles. It’s vital to keep in mind that some mulch is organic, and other mulches are inorganic. Organic mulches break down over time, whereas inorganic ones don’t. Always choose organic mulch to keep things eco-friendly.
3. Start A Compost Bin
Composting is an excellent way to help fight global warming. It’s a natural way of recycling organic matter into the soil, which keeps common kitchen waste like fruit and vegetable clippings out of landfills. You can then add this organic matter to help your plants grow.
Another benefit of composting is that it’s easy to do at home, as there are many different ways to create your compost pile. It’s also a fun activity to get the whole family involved in.
4. Use Solar Powered Lights
Outdoor lighting is a critical design element in outdoor living spaces. The right lights create the perfect cozy ambiance while allowing you to enjoy your backyard at night. And the best part? It’s easier than ever to make your outdoor lighting eco-friendly.
One of the best options is to place solar lights where you need them. They require no electricity and are a fantastic way to light pathways. However, you have to install them somewhere they’ll receive plenty of sunlight. For this reason, sometimes solar lights aren’t the best choice.
5. Collect Rainwater
Collecting rainwater is a simple way to make your backyard more eco-friendly.
All you have to do is divert rain from typical runoff locations and collect it in a large above-ground container. Then you can use it to water whatever you need. Your plants (both indoor and outdoor), landscape, and garden can all benefit from this practice (and so can your water bill!).
Rainwater collection systems are available online. Or if you feel so inclined, you can DIY.
6. Opt For Natural Pest Control
Implementing natural pest control techniques helps both the environment and our health.
You can do so in various ways, the first of which is to eliminate the use of pesticides. Gardeners using natural pest control techniques also hand-remove weeds and opt for natural insecticides, like soaps and oil sprays. And of course, Xeriscaping your yard is another excellent way to keep pests at bay.
7. Grow Fruits And Veggies
A fruit and vegetable garden makes a wonderful addition to an eco-friendly backyard. Not only is it a fun family project, but it’s also incredibly sustainable. By growing your produce, you reduce carbon emissions and eliminate the waste that’s so common with grocery store buys.
Another bonus? You know there are no chemicals or harsh fertilizers in your food, as home gardens don’t need them. They’re also pretty easy to start – the hardest part is usually deciding what to grow!
8. Ditch Your Grass
You probably already know that natural grass requires tons of water to thrive. In California, for example, lawn watering represents about half of the water most houses use. Not to mention, you need gas- or electric-powered equipment to keep it looking good. To put it simply, having a lawn makes creating a nature-friendly backyard space quite difficult.
Make your backyard more eco-friendly by saying adios to grass and opting for ground cover or artificial grass instead. The ground cover doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides, additional watering, or much mowing–if any. Try moss for shady areas and clover in spaces that receive lots of sunlight.
Artificial grass is another popular grass replacement, and many homeowners initially make the switch for reasons other than going green. They get tired of tending to their lawn and prefer artificial grass because it has no upkeep. There’s no irrigation, no aerating, no mowing, or pesticides to worry about. And the best part? Your yard always looks beautiful.
9. Install A Smart Irrigation System
Installing a smart irrigation system is a pricey change, but it’s worth it in the long run. Your old irrigation system could potentially be wasting lots of water, so the cost should even out in the end.
A green sprinkler system is the best way to save water, and it works well for all kinds of greenery. You can water grass, flowers, and shrubs with it.
Or if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider installing underground irrigation systems. You get efficient sprinkler heads, and some systems forecast the weather. They water your plants according to the weather conditions, which helps optimize water use. These systems are especially worth considering if you live in an arid climate or a drought-prone area.
Not yet in the market for new sprinklers? You should ensure you’re watering at the right time of day, and avoid overwatering your lawn. Aim for a maximum of two times per week.
10. Replace Your Fire Pit Or Fireplace
Fire pits and fireplaces up your backyard’s cozy factor, but they’re far from eco-friendly. Both wood-burning and gas models use fuel and create greenhouse gases.
The good news is that you can still enjoy a fire feature with less guilt. Try replacing your fire pit with a natural gas fire pit or swapping your patio fireplace for natural gas.
You can also make your wood-burning fire pit more eco-friendly just by using different logs. Logs made from alternative materials like switchgrass, used coffee beans, soy grass, and recycled sawdust give off 80 percent fewer emissions.
11. Furnish Your Yard With Eco-Friendly Patio Furniture
Be mindful of how you furnish your backyard. If you can, upcycle pieces that you already have or visit a local thrift store or consignment shop before buying new.
Otherwise, try to invest in pieces from eco-dedicated brands. If you’re unsure what to look for, keep sustainable materials in mind. Pieces that are made with recycled plastic or reclaimed wood are excellent. Some other eco-friendly materials include:
- Acacia hardwood
- Eucalyptus hardwood
- Organic cotton
Most companies are proud of their environmental efforts and have information about them on their websites. However, it’s crucial to corroborate this by looking for independent certification. And when possible, buy from local makers or companies.
We hope these tips inspired you in the creation of your dream eco-friendly backyard. Whether you implement one or all of them, you’re well on your way to making the world a better place. And the best part? Your family and guests will enjoy your backyard space more than ever.
Did you find the information in this post helpful? We have plenty more where that came from on our blog. And if you’re searching for beautiful, sustainable patio furniture, be sure to check out our selection.