There are so many ways one can help the environment, and one simple yet powerful way is being more environmentally conscious when renovating your home. Whether you are completing minor or major improvements, your living spaces can affect the environment more than you think. The materials you use may be unethically made or shipped, you may use too much energy or water, or you may not be using enough organic decorations. Below we’ll be reviewing a few sustainable ways to renovate your outdoor living space.
1. Utilize environmentally friendly patio furniture
When it comes to decorating an outdoor living space, you will typically see a piece of beautiful patio furniture as the main focal piece. This is a popular way to liven up your space that creates a comfortable area for you and your guests. The only drawback to this is the natural wear and tear that comes along with outdoor furniture. Due to the outdoor elements, there will come a time when replacing the furniture will be necessary. Instead of replacing your patio furniture with the same style or brand, try searching for eco-friendly patio furniture. Eco-friendly furniture sets can provide two major benefits:
- Saves you money: Eco-friendly furniture lasts much longer than traditional pieces of furniture. They are typically more durable and resistant to rust, water, wind, and other outdoor elements. The quality of eco-friendly furniture alone will require less maintenance or replacement, saving you more money in the long run.
- Protects the environment: Eco-friendly furniture consists of recycled materials such as aluminum, plastic, and wood. These materials allow you to have a great-looking patio set and when it does come time for necessary replacement, you can recycle it.
There are many different ways to implement this sustainable idea. You can purchase a refurbished wooden table set or perhaps a recycled plastic bench. There are numerous brands you can choose from. The most popular and best brands are The Joinery, Medley, Neighbor, and Crate & Barrel. These brands typically derive wood from FSC-certified forests and avoid using wasteful packaging for shipping. Though a sustainable patio furniture set may cost more money initially, the investment will be worth it in the long run.
2. Install solar panels and energy-efficient sensor lighting
Many people consume a lot more energy than they need when it comes to lighting their living space. According to studies, an average American household consumes 10,632 kilowatt-hours per year. This is a lot of electricity consumption when it comes to powering just one home. Many households do not realize that illuminating an outdoor living space can be expensive and detrimental to the environment due to constant energy consumption. There are two easy ways to combat this problem:
- Install solar panels: Installing solar panels for the home can help you in decreasing your electricity consumption for both the inside and outside of your home. Solar panels are one of the greenest home improvements you can complete, reducing your carbon footprint almost immediately after installation.
- Install energy-efficient sensor lights: Installing automatic sensor lighting will not only light up your outdoor living space when someone is nearby or enjoying the area but will also save you anywhere between 35-45% of energy consumption. This allows you to have the perfect sustainable lights to illuminate your space without hurting your pockets and the environment.
There are numerous options to choose from when installing a home solar system. You can opt for a grid-tied system which is a solar system that is connected to your electrical power grid permanently. You can select an off-grid solar system which means that the system is not connected to a power source. There is the option of choosing a hybrid system that is practically a grid-tied system with a battery backup. The last option is a solar lease that will allow you to pay monthly bills to lease a solar system instead of buying one outright. Typically, it costs around $15,000 to $31,000 to install solar panels contingent on the specific system and the extra pieces you would like to add.
Similarly, there are a couple of options to choose from when installing energy-efficient lights. The most popular style is automatic sensor lights. You can choose between timed lights that will turn on and off after a certain period, or you can select a photo sensor light that will turn on when it becomes dark outside or detects motion. Both of these options are reliable and ultimately come down to preference. It typically costs an average of $400 to install automatic light sensors but can increase to $800 depending on the type and number of lights you include around your outdoor living space.
3. Install smart sprinkler systems
Taking care of your lawn is a great way to keep your outdoor living space looking its best. This means planting the right seeds, plenty of fertilizer, and of course using the appropriate amount of water. A common issue many people face is watering their lawns too much, which can use an abundant amount of water and can increase water waste. According to studies, the average lawn uses 125 gallons of water per 1,000 feet, and 50% of this is lost due to outdoor conditions like wind, evaporation, and more. A great way to combat this is to install a smart sprinkler system that will mitigate these challenges. There are two main benefits of installing this system:
- It reduces your water bill: Water can be expensive to use when it comes to watering a large outdoor living area. However, by adding an intelligent sprinkler system, you can save as much as 50% of your utility bill.
- It protects the environment: Sometimes watering the lawn is unnecessary when it is raining outside. With the intelligent sprinklers, it will only use water when it is necessary and will know how much will get the job done. This will limit the amount of wasted water throughout your home.
There are a few options to implement this idea. First, there are weather-based sprinklers. This system relies on humidity, temperature, wind, and other outdoor elements to determine when and how much watering your lawn needs. Next, there are soil moisture sensor sprinklers. This system measures the moisture level in the soil to determine when to water the lawn. Finally, there are wireless, controlled sprinklers. These sprinklers are controlled by the user through their phone app and will stop watering when necessary.
On average, it can cost between $5,000 to $14,000 to install a smart sprinkler depending on the specific system and size of the outdoor living area. However, this eco-friendly upgrade is worth it in the long run as you reduce your home’s water waste.
4. Utilize plants as decorations
One cheap and organic way to renovate your outdoor living space with sustainability in mind is by using plants as decorations. This is an effective way to liven up the area due to the different types of plants you can use. There are two main benefits of how using plants for decor can be a smart idea for you and the environment:
- It purifies the air: Plants give off clean oxygen for us to breathe every day. Not only is it good for air purification, but it also helps prevent soil erosion, provides an ecosystem for smaller animals, and helps diminish our carbon footprint.
- It adds character to your space: Plants can liven up any area, especially your outdoor living space. They will add color, and depth, and can even enhance a comfortable environment.
There are a few ways to implement this idea. You can plant flowers that will enhance the vibrance of your outdoor space. You can also plant trees that will offer you shade and can produce clean air. According to studies, one tree can produce 260 pounds of oxygen per year. There are many different directions you can take to renovate your outdoor space with greenery.
The costs of this will vary depending on your preferences. It can cost anywhere from $30-$50 to plant a few flowers, or a few hundred dollars to thousands if you want to plant some trees. It all depends on what you are looking for and what is best for your outdoor living space.
Having your own space is amazing because you can do whatever you want with it to make it comfortable and enjoyable. There are numerous ways you can go about it, but the best way to start is to consider how to make it more sustainable. It helps save you money over time, lasts longer, and protects the environment. It may take more time and effort upfront to renovate it, but it is worth it in the end for you and our environment.
Matt Ramage is an experienced content writer who provides readers with tips and advice on how to live sustainably. He is passionate about home remodeling, real estate, and other homeownership issues. He keeps up with trends regarding these topics to ensure he consistently gives his audience thorough and accurate information.