Your backyard can be an oasis for you and your family, a place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But if you want to make sure your backyard is sustainable, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. If you’re ready to create a backyard oasis that is both beautiful and environmentally friendly, read on for some tips on how to create a sustainable backyard oasis.
Change Lighting to Energy-Efficient
If you’ve got a nice outdoor space to enjoy your backyard at night, you’ve likely already got some outdoor lighting. Changing that energy-efficient lighting is a simple way to save energy, which helps both your wallet and the environment. Some ideas for lighting that saves energy include:
- Solar lights: These lights are powered by the sun, which means they don’t require any wires to reach your home’s electricity. They work great for lighting up walkways and paths in your backyard.
- LED spotlights: LEDs (light-emitting diodes) use much less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. They’re very powerful, so they’re great for accent lighting, such as spotlights on your garden or your backyard pool if you have one.
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs): While not as energy-efficient as LEDs, these bulbs use less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up longer. They work well for general lighting in your yard.
To save even more energy, consider installing a timer or motion sensor so your lights only go on when they’re needed.
Collect Rainwater and Start Composting
Collecting rainwater and composting are two great ways to reduce your environmental impact while beautifying your yard. Rainwater can be used for watering plants, washing your car, and more, while composting is a great way to reduce your food waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden.
There are several ways to harvest rainwater — including a barrel, a tank, or underground pipes — but people often start with the rain barrel system. A rain barrel is a container that collects and stores rainwater, typically from your gutters. To set up a rain barrel system in your yard, you’ll need a sturdy gutter downspout elbow and some PVC pipes. Attach the elbow to the downspout and attach the pipes to the elbow. Place your rain barrel at the end of the pipes, and you’ll be ready to start collecting rainwater.
Composting comes in two forms: hot, which requires a little more effort on your part in exchange for faster results, and cold, which leaves all the work up to nature. In both cases, you collect items like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings, dry leaves, etc. These items are then piled together in a compost bin, pile, or compost tumbler to create the ideal environment for microorganisms to break down the material into rich nutrients that can be used in your garden or lawn.
Focus on Native Plants & Biodiversity
No backyard is complete without plants, but the ones you choose have a significant impact. By planting native plants, you can help protect the local ecosystem. Native plants are adapted to the area’s climate and soil, so they require less water and maintenance than non-native plants. They also provide food and shelter for local wildlife.
In addition to native plants, making sure your backyard has diversity in plantings is another good idea. A variety of plant sizes, shapes, and colors will create an eye-catching and inviting space. Plus, different types of plants attract different types of wildlife. So, the more variety you have, the more likely you are to attract a wide range of animals.
So next time you’re at the nursery, look for plants that are native to your area and pick up a variety of plants. Trees, flowers, bushes, and more will all keep your backyard looking like a natural ecosystem and help the wider one.
Use Decorations Out of Recycled Materials
It would be hard to enjoy a backyard without decorations and furniture, wouldn’t it? Fortunately, there are many options for sprucing up your outdoor space that won’t harm the environment. One way to do this is to landscape using discarded materials. For example, you can use bricks or rocks found around your neighborhood to make pathways along your garden.
You can also repurpose various items for decor or more practical purposes. Some ideas include making flower pots from old tires or gardening equipment out of cracked plastic containers. Putting your imagination to work means the possibilities are almost endless.
Another way to decorate your backyard in an eco-friendly way is to use sustainable or recycled materials for your furniture. You can buy outdoor furniture made from sustainable woods or recycled plastic. Or, you can go another route and buy used furniture. This way, you’re giving new life to something that might otherwise end up in a landfill.
Enjoy Your Backyard Without Harming the Environment
Creating a backyard oasis can be a fun and rewarding project, but it’s important to do so in a way that is sustainable. You can make small changes that add up over time and result in a lush, green space. By collecting rainwater and composting, changing to energy-efficient lighting, focusing on planting native plants, and using recycled materials for decorations, you can make your backyard a paradise while helping to preserve the planet.