Happy Earth Day! April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day in 1970. That mobilization led to the passage of landmark environmental protection laws in the United States and around the world. You don’t have to be a climate activist or environmentalist to know that living sustainably is important to being a good steward of the Earth. Today, we will look at creating your perfect outdoor living solution with sustainability in mind.
Sustainable Outdoor Living Space Ideas
Whether you are designing a completely new outdoor living space or seeking inspiration to transform your current patio into an eco-friendly backyard oasis, we have several sustainable outdoor living space ideas. And don’t worry – you won’t have to sacrifice beauty, function, or your personal style.
1. Replacing Turf Grass
Americans spend an incredible amount of time and money maintaining their lawns. Lots of gas pollutes the air, and lots of chemicals get applied each year. You can be more sustainable if you install hardscaping elements, landscape beds, and ground covers to replace that expanse of turfgrass.
Create meandering pathways through your backyard using pea gravel or flagstone. Use low maintenance, durable paving stones for your patio and pool surround.
Instead of a large square of turfgrass, consider creating beautiful and colorful gardens around your property using native plants. Native plants are more drought-tolerant, and can withstand Maryland winters. A good landscape design company can help you choose trees, shrubs, flowering plants, and evergreens that will delight the senses, but help save on your water bill.
2. Solar Power
We don’t mean that you have to install solar panels, although that is always an option if you are so inclined. We mean to take advantage of solar power to heat your pool. You can use a pool cover when the pool is not in use, or choose a dark interior finish for your pool. Both will reduce the amount that you need to use a pool heater.
You can also install solar-powered landscape lighting or use solar power to charge electronics in your outdoor living space.
3. Make Your Outdoor Living Space Energy Efficient
If you have an outdoor kitchen, make sure any appliances, such as a refrigerator, are Energy Star® certified. Help the fridge or freezer work more efficiently by configuring your outdoor kitchen so these appliances are never in the direct sunlight. Consider a covered patio to help with this. Gas grills are efficient at cooking quickly and don’t put off as much smoke as other options. Any lighting that you add should be LED lighting to ensure the highest efficiency.
When it comes to your pool, consider upgrading to a Pentair variable speed pump. A variable speed pump uses a lot less energy than a single-speed pump and will cost you less to run, as well.
4. Choose Eco-Friendly Furniture and Textiles
When choosing patio furniture, outdoor rugs, pillows and more, look for organic materials. Wood furniture, and curtains, pillows and rugs made with cotton, wool, jute, bamboo, and sisal are all good options. Furniture and accessories made from recycled materials are also widely available and make great additions to outdoor living with sustainability.
5. Reuse and Recycle
Before you throw out patio furniture, think about if you could spruce it up by refinishing the wood, or reupholstering the cushions. If you really do need to replace it, think about donating it if it’s still usable. Look around your house and yard. Are there things you can repurpose and recycle for your outdoor living space? Reusing an item in a new and unusual way can make it a conversation piece.
Lastly, have fun with it. Your outdoor living space is yours to enjoy.