10 Tips for Greening Your Backyard Paradise

July 25, 2010

Today’s post contains a list of “going green” tips written by Jay Chua of Porch Swing Sets. He offers ideas to extend the sustainable focus beyond the vegetable garden and help ensure that the entire landscape is environmentally friendly:

Landscapes are changing for the better due to the shift in environmental attitudes, and gardeners are standing up and taking notice of the effects that wasteful, environmentally unfriendly, and energy consuming practices can have on their surroundings.

“Going Green” is the battle cry that reigns supreme; making chemical laden lawns a thing of the past and stirring interest in materials that are environmentally friendly when creating a backyard paradise. You can go greener as well by following these ten tips:

1. Look to Harness the Sun – The world is constantly looking for alternative energy sources. But thanks to solar technology you need look no further than the sun. By utilizing fixtures that are solar powered you can harness the sun’s energy during the day and enjoy the light at night.

2. Try Outdoor Cooking – Whether you are firing up a good old fashioned charcoal grill or using the sun’s energy in a solar oven; when you cook in your backyard you won’t be over working your air conditioner with that hot oven heating up the kitchen.

3. Use Ecologically Friendly Materials – When it comes to an outside patio; there is nothing quite like natural stone to bring out those rustic features. For fences, bamboo is quite popular these days and decks made out of cedar ignore rot while eventually weathering into a lovely shade of silver. Using environmental friendly materials helps pave the way for going green.

4. Employ Native Plants in the Landscape – Create a lovely garden and landscape scenario by utilizing native plants grown for your climate. At the same time your backyard getaway can invite a variety of butterflies and birds for your enjoyment.

5. Enjoy the Lawn that Comes Naturally – Everyone knows someone who is devoted to maintaining their lawn, over the years this desire to have the greenest lawn on the block leads to the overuse of toxic chemicals and adds stress to the water supply. It is simpler to go green and allow your yard grow naturally with normal grasses and vegetation forming a great lawn.

6. Add the Sound of Flowing Water – There is something so special and relaxing about the sound of running water. Your garden paradise can be highlighted by a water feature; consider using a solar-powered fountain, not only will it save you money, but it will add hours of soothing peacefulness.

7. Know Your Timber Choices – Various types of timber are grown and harvested to supply our needs. Some are grown using sustainable methods that ensure the least impact on the environment, knowing your building materials and how they are produced is one trait of an environmentally friendly consumer.

8. Plan For The Longer-Term – Going green is all about purchasing items that are durable. When you buy products that will last for the long haul; you don’t have to worry about them breaking down or clogging landfills. Go with quality and durable products that can turn into family heirlooms and be enjoyed over and over again.

9. Create a Surreal Environment – There are many items that can be chosen to create a classic backyard setting that will melt your heart and sooth your soul. The classic porch swing offers the same rustic appeal it did more than a century ago and the cast iron glider is as popular today as ever. There are many accessories that can be added to enhance your backyard paradise.

10. Remember Those R’s – Most people have heard that it is vital to reduce, recycle and reuse, but in addition, it is just as important to repair and redecorate. Whenever you accessorize your landscape ensure that you pick items that are durable and easily recycled should they run their life cycle.

Jay Chua is the publisher of PorchSwingSets.com. Jay loves nature and the outdoors. He resides in Vancouver, Canada with his wife Deisy. When not gardening, Jay enjoys relaxing in his yard.

The Pawley’s Island hammocks and the Hatteras Hammocks are lovely additions to his backyard paradise that allow him the opportunity to enjoy his organically planted fruit trees in comfort unimagined.

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

  • Barb Keeler

    Ok, I know this is an ad for his firm… but tell me how adding a water feature to your garden will save you money? Even if you dig by hand, which we have done with the neighbors; a 2-3 ‘ deep, 15’ in diameter tiered pond with cascading water and flagstone perimeter; the expense of construction is not recouped. Pump, plants, fish, maintainance, all cost money. The pump runs constantly to keep the water aerated and filtered. That pump is costing you more than you would save by putting a glider on the porch.

  • Kenny Point

    That was my error Barb; the author’s reference to saving money with a water feature was in relation to using a solar-powered fountain instead of an electrical one. I mistakenly edited that out and will add it back. Thank you.

    Also, this article is a guest post but I would not characterize it as an “ad” in the sense that any financial compensation was involved. I open the site here for others to share their experiences, opinions, and ideas freely and will always include an author bio, links, and a mention of the work, books, business, etc. of all contributors if desired.

  • This is a really cool blog post. I would like to add something to it. You could try adding some features that match into the environment. Many seem to think that a veggie garden needs to be just that. But if you grow some in pots they can look just great.

    A dwarf fruit tree in a container can look great, and tomatoes large or cherry types look good if they are kept tidy. This can also have a variety of herbs splashed around in pots to help blend this in. I hope this helps? Thanks again for the great article. I learned a lot. See you soon.

    Mr Growing Tomatoes In Pots!

  • This subject is really important!

    While I agree with a lot of what Jay says here, I think he’s missing a very important point. The greenest things are those you don’t buy. This is true for everything he suggests; solar cells, bamboo, water feature, timber, and everything else.

    Every time you buy something it has to be manufactured, transported (often from China), stocked in stores and eventually disposed of. Every time you avoid buying something; for example by making due with what you have, recycling garden materials like rocks and wood, using junk you find elsewhere, this is the most green you can possibly be.

    The energy that goes into consumer items like these usually far outweigh any potential energy savings. For example, if you already have a water feature in your garden that uses mains electricity, the greenest choice would almost certainly be to keep using it, rather than switch it to solar power.

    We all need to buy things sometimes, and when you do the key is to make sure it will last as long as possible — but not too long! You want to use what you buy to be used by yourself for as long as possible, but remember eventually it needs to be disposed of. Many things like oils, chemicals, paints, treated wood, batteries or PVC plastic are very difficult to dispose of or recycle in a useful way. They can also be very toxic; if they are burned they can cause serious air pollution and if they find their way into the ground they can breakdown into toxic and long lasting heavy metals and chemicals.

    PVC plastic is a particularly difficult material to dispose of. If burned it decomposes into dioxins and PCBs. There are no effective ways of recycling it. In a landfill it lasts virtually forever. Many of us, including me, use PVC coated fence. It can be a very useful material as it does pretty much last forever. It’s important to think before you use it and consider alternatives first.

  • Pingback: A Green Garden | Bifurcated Carrots()

  • I would say this is a great guest post. Indeed, I agreed with most of the points. Thanks Jay for such an interesting blog.

    Keep it up.

    – D. Esther

  • Really enjoyed the green themed post, in an effort to re-use I made a garden bucket organizer using a common household item, thought you might like to see how easy it was

  • A tropical paradise is complete without a water feature or pond. The most important element that contributes to a tropical environment is moving water. Why? – You can ask for. Water flow over rocks and through the air of negative ions in the surrounding oxygen. Breathing air laden has proved healthy, relieves stress, tension and anxiety. Have you ever felt the smell of cleanliness and freshness in the air just before a storm? You breathe the air negatively charged. You will find the same effect on the beach by the waves breaking on the shore.

  • Hi,
    Great post, excellant way to save energy and money.


  • Add to these ideas a nice recycled-material garden bench to sit and enjoy your garden.

Previous post:

Next post: