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Want an Eco-Friendly Backyard? Try These 16 Green Ideas

Looking for ways to make your backyard more environmentally friendly? Give your backyard a green overhaul! From planting a native garden to installing solar lights, here are 16 green upgrades for your backyard!

Try Organic Mulch

Consider landscaping with sustainable materials like organic mulch—which regulates soil temperature, holds moisture, and reduces weed growth. Organic mulches not only help plants thrive in your garden, but also come with environmental benefits as they naturally break down over time. Some common organic mulch types include wood chips, shredded bark, straw, leaves, and grass clippings.

Utilize Xeriscaping

Backyard Xeriscaping with Native Plants. Photo by Instagram user @mr_agave

Photo via @mr_agave

Live somewhere that doesn’t get much rain? No worries! With xeriscape landscaping, you can have a lush backyard while still being eco-friendly. Xeriscaping is a sustainable landscape design consisting of regional, drought-resistant plants, meaning you don’t have to use much water to have a beautiful and eco-friendly yard. This can help you save water and money, all while eliminating the need for harsh pesticides and fertilizers!

Plant a Native Garden

If you don’t want to do a full xeriscaping backyard makeover, you can still add some eco-friendly updates with native landscaping! Planting greenery and flowers that are native to the region you live in will both save you money and avoid the use of harmful chemicals in some fertilizers. Plus, since they thrive in their own environment, you won’t have to use as much water for their upkeep. By growing a garden filled with native plants and flowers for pollinators, you can also give garden bugs a reliable food source.

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Invite Pollinators into the Yard

Backyard Pollinator Garden. Photo by Instagram user @jblairbullard

Photo via @jblairbullard

While helpful bugs are drawn to native plants, there are other ways to create a space that attracts pollinators like bees, butterflies, moths, and other insects to feed! Plant trees and fill your yard with color from a mixture of flowers to target beneficial insects. This has an array of environmental perks, including reducing species decline, supporting crop and produce growth, and controlling the population of pests.

Grow Your Own Fruits & Vegetables

Backyard Vegetable Garden with Raised Planter Boxes. Photo by Instagram user @reshgala

Photo via @reshgala

Having a backyard vegetable garden full of fresh fruit and veggies is a fun project that’s great for the earth! Growing your own produce helps reduce carbon emissions and the waste attached to buying grocery store produce. Plus, fertilizers and chemicals aren’t necessary when you grow your own sustainably produced food in home gardens.

Save Water with Smart Irrigation . . .

Whether you need to care for your grass, flowers, or other plants, think about installing a green sprinkler system to help you save water. Underground irrigation systems with efficient sprinkler heads are less expensive, and many come with weather forecasting features to avoid waste and over-watering. This can be especially beneficial in drier areas where water conservation is vital.

. . . Or Try Reclaimed Water Solutions

There are plenty of reclaimed water solutions that can help you conserve rainwater right in your backyard! One green backyard idea is to start rain harvesting with a rain barrel system. Collecting rain runoff from your roof in this way allows you to repurpose it for other uses like watering your lawn or plants—which reduces your water usage while adding a unique rustic look to your outdoor space. You can also install a drainage system that helps water go directly to your garden or collect rainwater from your gutters when it rains.

Build a Compost Pile

Looking for ways to reduce your waste while also improving your backyard garden? Try backyard composting! Outdoor compost bins enrich your soil, reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, and help eliminate methane emissions on top of other benefits. Decide whether you want to purchase one or build a DIY compost bin, then place your bin somewhere with plenty of shade and access to fresh air and water.

Choose Eco-Friendly Lawn Care

Eco-Friendly Brand Yard Tools. Photo by Instagram user @electrawnllc

Photo via @electrawnllc

When it comes to caring for your backyard, there are plenty of eco-friendly lawn tools to choose from. Electric lawn mowers and leaf blowers are good options because they require less energy and don’t rely on gas to function. In fact, typical mowers and leaf blowers emit nearly 250 million tons of pollutants every year, so investing in an electric mower can greatly reduce your carbon footprint. Similarly, push-powered mowers and battery-powered edgers or trimmers are other eco-friendly alternatives to consider. And don’t forget about the benefits of grasscycling—leaving grass clippings on the lawn adds nutrients to the soil!

Go Grassless with a Synthetic Lawn

Maintaining a grass lawn requires lots of water and energy. If you’re interested in a greener alternative, artificial grass is your go-to. While an artificial lawn may be more expensive to install, you greatly reduce your water usage and eliminate the need for fertilizers and seed. Upkeep is also much easier because you don’t have to spend as much time and energy mowing or weeding. Plus, synthetic turf is durable—lasting up to 25 years!

Opt for a Hardscape

Backyard Filled with Sustainable Hardscaping. Photo by Instagram user @floresartscape

Photo via @floresartscape

Hardscaping can be an eco-friendly way to landscape your yard. Instead of having a large lawn to water and take care of, adding backyard pavement can create useful walkways or replace grass altogether. This helps limit water runoff, prevent erosion, filter pollutants, and improve the health of soil and vegetation. A few eco-friendly pavement options you can utilize include pavement with irregular stones, recycled asphalt and concrete pavement, and permeable pavers.

Upgrade Your Outdoor Lighting

Backyard Landscape Lighting at Night. Photo by Instagram user @lamp.lust

Photo via @lamp.lust

When it comes to exterior lighting for your backyard, LED lights, motion detectors, and solar lights are excellent green options. Not only are they cost-efficient and easy to install, but they’re also more energy-efficient than traditional lights. And with options from path lighting to string lights, you can design your yard lighting exactly how you like!

Install Solar Panels

Installing solar panels on the exterior of your home is an outdoor upgrade that can greatly reduce your energy bills. The panels soak up energy from the sun to help power your home and reduce dependency on fossil fuels like gas. Even when it’s cloudy, solar panels still draw energy and produce around 10-20% of the power generated on regular sunny days. To top it off, investing in this energy-efficient home upgrade can qualify you for a tax credit!

Buy Sustainable Outdoor Furniture

When it comes to choosing outdoor furniture with the planet in mind, there are tons of ways to have a comfortable and cozy backyard that’s also eco-friendly! Search for patio furniture made of organic materials like bamboo, organic cotton, and sustainable woods. Other green options include buying secondhand outdoor furniture or items made with recycled plastic. Upcycling old patio furniture can help you save money and reduce waste!

Use Eco-Friendly Materials to Build a Deck

If you’re looking for additional seating in your backyard, building a deck may be the perfect green upgrade for you! However, be sure to use natural materials for your backyard deck like cedar, bamboo, or redwood. Not only do these materials resist scratches, rain, and UV rays, but they’re also biodegradable, as opposed to composite decking. Not to mention, utilizing eco-friendly materials will help your deck endure time as these have a lower likelihood to rot and decay.

Look into a Natural Swimming Pool

If you want to have a swimming pool in your backyard without the harmful effects, build a sustainable natural pool! Natural pools don’t require the use of harsh chemicals like chlorine, making them better for you and the environment. Plus, they save you time and money in the long run because their yearly maintenance costs are lower. You can even install a solar cover, which will help to keep the pool warm and save water from evaporating. A natural backyard pool can also blend in well with the rest of your yard’s landscaping and help you design a beautiful, eco-friendly oasis!


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