Green Shoots Blog
Summer might be coming to an end this month, but we think there’s still time to maximize your green outdoor living space before the weather gets too cool! In the spring we brought you some of our favorite ideas for green & easy backyard makeovers, and today our friends at Modernize share their tips for creating a green outdoor living area. Get inspired to go green for the dog days of summer!
How to Build a Green Outdoor Living Area
Written by Danielle Hegedus, Modernize
Making your home more eco-friendly doesn’t have to end at your front door. The choices that you make for your outdoor living space may not make as direct an impact on your monthly utility bills (though you may be surprised), but they certainly factor into the size of your carbon footprint. At Modernize, we encourage you to update your outdoor space with sustainable building materials and invest in landscaping that benefits your local environment. Beyond feeling good about being more environmentally responsible, you’re likely to get a healthy return on your investment, too. Recent studies show that 73% of prospective buyers are willing to pay a premium for homes with environmentally sustainable features. Read on for tips to help you make your outdoor living area more green.
Conserve Water with Xeriscaping
If you live in California, you should definitely explore xeriscaping. This type of landscaping reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation. Pronounced “zeer-i-scape,” it’s a combination of two Greek words: “xeros” (dry) and “scape” (view). According to HGTV, “The average American family of four uses 60 gallons of water per day—almost 22,000 gallons per year—just to water the lawn and garden. Experts estimate that up to half of that water goes to waste due to evaporation, wind, improper system design or overwatering. Converting to a water-wise landscape can reduce outdoor water use by as much as 50 percent.”
Beyond saving water, xeriscaping utilizes plants that are native to your area, eliminating the need for potentially toxic chemical supplements. Minimal turf means you won’t have to use gas powered mowers with the same frequency or for long durations. With xeriscaping, there are no large quantities of lawn clippings, so you’ll decrease the amount of organic matter you’re sending off to local landfills. Additionally, the use of native plants, shrubs, and trees offer a familiar habitat for local wildlife, attracting natural pollinators like hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.
Create an Eco-Friendly Space to Entertain with BamDeck®
Adding a deck to your home instantly increases your living space, while making your home more visually appealing. A deck creates the perfect space for throwing parties, cooking out, and enjoying beautiful weather with family and friends. Build your deck with BamDeck® composite decking. It’s three times stronger than other composites and an environmentally friendly outdoor decking material—made from 60% reclaimed bamboo fibers and 40% recycled HDPE plastics. BamDeck is stylish, contemporary, ultra low-maintenance, and available in the wide plank composite deck style (pictured). Adding a deck can also increase your home’s value. Plan to recoup up to 72% of the cost of building the deck.
Enjoy a Staycation at Your Own Tropical Tiki Bar
Author Anne Lamott has a great quote that always resonates with us. “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, even you.” We all need an opportunity to recharge our batteries, but your traditional vacation can be cost prohibitive and take quite the toll on the environment. Before you plan a trip across the country, consider that airplanes emit carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapors into our atmosphere at about three times the rate of cars, heavily contributing to climate change. Take a budget and environmentally friendly “staycation” instead.
A bamboo tropical tiki bar adds a fun element to your outdoor space that will really make you feel like you’re on vacation. Turn on music that reminds you of the beach (Bob Marley, Jack Johnson, The Beach Boys) and enjoy a margarita while you grill some fresh shrimp for tacos with friends. In addition to making your backyard everyone’s favorite spot to hang out, your eco-friendly tiki bar will last a lifetime. Stronger than steel and concrete, bamboo is made of dense fibers that actually allow it to bend without snapping, making it well suited to withstand storms and earthquakes.
Create a Private Space with Bamboo Fencing
As you build your outdoor oasis, don’t forget to plan for privacy. You may like your neighbors enough, but enjoying a book and a cool drink is much better without having to deflect prying eyes or unsolicited conversation. Build a tall fence around your property to keep your time spent outdoors private and to increase the overall security of your home.
Bamboo is an ideal material choice for fencing because of its durability and also because it is easy on the ecosystem. Fast-growing bamboo (it can grow up to twelve inches a day) makes beautiful, durable fencing that is naturally anti-bacterial, water resistant, and durable. Trees used for conventional wood take 30-50 years to regenerate to their full mass. In the meantime, there is less oxygen produced, less carbon dioxide consumed, and more soil runoff in the spot where the tree was harvested—all producing harmful environmental effects. When it comes to sustainability, bamboo has traditional lumber beat in every category.
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