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Your Eco Patio in 5 Easy Ideas
By: Luisa Dahianna Trujillo
Summer will be here before you know it. As we have the chance to be outside enjoying and resting, this season becomes an ideal moment to check how we’re helping the environment. For this reason, we give you 5 useful and easy-to-make ideas for having an eco-friendly patio.
Repurpose your furniture and explore eco-friendly materials
Recycle furniture or use furniture that is created with eco-friendly materials. Get to know groups like Buy Nothing Project where “you can post anything you'd like to give away, lend, or share and ask for anything you'd like to receive for free or borrow.”
Eco Paint options and materials are not just good for the environment, but also for your health. The Good Trade is very clear when explaining that paint, finish, or lacquer can be considered eco-friendly when “it doesn’t contain airborne chemicals or gases that will wreak havoc on your health. These low-level toxic emissions are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), they leach out into the air and cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness, visual and respiratory impairment—even memory loss.” So, what realistic steps can we take to have eco-paints?
- First, make sure that if you need interior or exterior paint, maintain low VOCs, low biocides, and natural pigments that are healthier for you and the environment.
- Be responsible when disposing of your unused paint. “Buy only the paint you need so you can use it all, and then recycle the steel cans. If you end up with a substantial amount of paint left, save it—store the can upside down to create a tight seal around the lid. Or, donate it to a local theater, neighbor, or community group. As a last resort, take it to a local hazardous waste collection program.” Taken from: Green America
Go organic for your vegetable garden and your plants
Organic gardening gives a wonderful feeling since you put your seeds on the soil until you can understand the marvelous process of production. Of course, preparing the soil is one of the most important steps. Keep in mind that pesticides and even soils mixed with fertilizers can cause damage to the environment. Parent Map shares this recipe from Steve Solomon: “It is perfect for our environment and will make enough to broadcast over approximately 50 square feet of garden space.” This 11-cup mix will make enough to broadcast over approximately 50 square feet of garden space.
8 dry cups cottonseed meal
1 dry cup lime — use dolomite
1 dry cup phosphate rock
1 dry cup kelp meal
Use little or no light or water
It's best if you can go without adding any additional light or need for water, but that's not always the case. As long as you need to use water, try to have a smart sprinkler system. They are more efficient and cheap in the long term. If you opt to change for a complete zero water/energy swap to grass-less yards. Artificial grass lasts for years and always has a perfect aspect.
Another wonderful way to avoid using much water is having drought-tolerant plants or start having xeriscaping gardens. Drought conditions are predicted to continue increasing over time. Having plants around us is immensely beneficial to keep humidity, attract pollinators, and regulate temperature. Some important points to keep into account are:
- Choose native plants that can also attract pollinators.
- Use drought-tolerant plants and start Xeriscaping. “The idea behind xeriscaping is to create a beautiful landscape while conserving water resources to the greatest extent possible” Read more about this here: Love your Landscape
- Use organic mulch.
- Timers on lights you're using near your patio or grill or motion sensor lights for your driveway are a great option to continue saving energy. There’s no need to have lights in all the time and we are always supportive of having solar lights. Find some great tools to have a great patio powered with solar energy, and read some Extra Info about this topic.
Best grills for your patio
Every aspect of our lives is important when we are having a more eco-friendly lifestyle, and that includes grilling. There are many options to switch our outdoor cooking to a more sustainable one. For example, natural gas grill and electric grill are the two more sustainable forms of outdoor cooking regarding air pollution. In this case, the most important issue is the grill’s durability. It is essential to keep in mind that petroleum-based lighter fluids and self-lighting charcoal are not recommended as they release petrochemicals into the air. You can also purchase solar cooking elements here.
Creating a natural habitat is a possibility to transform traditional landscapes into a native space that attracts wildlife. You can have a Certified Wildlife Habitat® thanks to The National Wildlife Federation. First, you should decide the type of habitat garden based on your region. You should check on the sun and shade that your garden receives during the day, prepare your site, sections and select your native plants (especially if they can give a year-round diversity) to continue Sustainable Practices to help the ecosystem.
In this link, you can check how to certify a Wildlife Habitat
Certify - Garden for Wildlife | National Wildlife Federation.
Besides, here are some tips that The National Wildlife Federation gives to take action in our backyards:
- Improve your energy efficiency.
- Reduce the use of gasoline-powered yard tools.
- Reduce the threat of invasive species expansion.
Incorporate a diversity of native plants into your landscape.
- Reduce water consumption.
- Develop a rain garden.
- Compost kitchen and garden waste.
- Establish a “green roof” and plant trees to protect your house from the elements.
- Plant lots of trees to absorb carbon dioxide.
The Gardener's Guide to Global Warming (nwf.org)
There are many more options and ideas to continue a sustainable path during summer. In Realty Sage, we want to make the most out of this season, but always holding to our environmentally friendly values. Now, we would love to hear from you, are you prepared to live summer in the most eco-friendly way?
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