Remodeling your backyard offers a wealth of possibilities for making your space both green and fun, and with both of those challenges met, you’re likely not to find a challenge out of getting people to get out there and enjoy it.
Most backyard entertainment revolves around a deck, porch or patio where people can sit, relax, barbeque or otherwise entertain. Thankfully, there are plenty of products available for building green decks and other outdoor living spaces. Composite material has been catching on slowly but surely over the past decade and is a great material to incorporate into a deck. Not only is it eco friendly and built from mostly recycled materials, but it doesn’t warp, stain, splinter or peel. This means you’ll spend less time and money on upkeep, likely having to use hazardous stains and finishes that spill off into the lawn. Composite decking materials often come in kits, making them easier to install as well. While nothing is ever permanent, composite materials have a much longer lifespan than traditional decks, which means added green values—both ecologically and financially.
Now that you’ve built your deck or patio, you’ve got to furnish it. This is where you can have some fun and get creative. While there are plenty of companies like Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and Home Depot that already sell eco friendly furniture, you can also go greener by recycling or restoring old furniture. Sometimes all that’s needed for a piece of furniture to feel and look new is a good cleaning and a little bit of paint or stain; even plastic lawn furniture can look and feel like a new, high-end piece of furniture with a new coat of paint. Wicker furniture is great for the outdoors as it’s much more weather resistant; wicker, contrary to popular opinion, can also be restored.
You can add some green entertainment to your backyard with an eco friendly fire-pit. Plenty of options exist out there, from recycled metal frames, to ceramic logs or fire pit glass, to even building your own out of eco fuel and stones. You can make outdoor lighting out of low wattage LED chandeliers or simply by burning candles.
A garden is key for any green backyard and will function ecologically and aesthetically. As gardens aren’t new for many people, consider different layout options for your garden when redesigning your backyard. You could try to build your entertaining space around your garden or interspersed throughout your garden. You can even, in the spirit of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, build a multi-leveled garden that cascades down from your deck’s ceiling or roof all the way to the lawn. Having a compost pile will allow you to fertilize your garden greenly as well as recycle your own family’s waste more effectively.
When redesigning your backyard you’re already offered a fantastic opportunity for making it green as you’re designing a space already ensconced in the environment. Take advantage of that opportunity laid right at your feet; get creative with it; and, more importantly, have fun with it—there’s nothing that says planning green can’t be fun.
About the Author: Lisa Steele is an interior designer who reviews brand-name furniture, like Marcel Breuer chairs, for the web. She absolutely loves adding personality to any room via remodeling.