Tips for Creating a Greener Outdoor Space

by Amanda Hearn · 4 comments

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Tips for Creating a Greener Outdoor SpaceSpring is finally starting to creep in here in Ohio and I can hardly wait to spend time outside working and relaxing in the fresh air. When we think of outdoor spaces, one of the last things on our mind might be ways to “green” it. I mean, we’re already outside, that’s green right? Well yes, but there’s a little more to it than that. When we visit the lawn & garden store we are bombarded with toxic garden linings, artificial fertilizers, uncomfortable plastic furniture and so much more. Check out these tips to help inspire some greener elements in your outdoor spaces – they promise to please and create a more relaxing atmosphere!

Solar Lights

Solar LightCandles get blown out, tiki torches use smelly oils and wired lights use electricity – but solar lights, well they are another story!

Lights like these not only look beautiful lining your space, but they also provide hours of light from recharging during the day (even on no-so-sunny ones!) They’re affordable too! A 2-pack of hanging lights like the ones pictured here is just under $20. If you’d like pathway lighting, a pack of 10 can run under $40. Keep in mind that these require no wiring or additional electricity costs!

Pest Controlling Plants

Scented GeraniumScented Geranium has a pleasant fragrance and contains natural citronella oils which will help deter pests like mosquitoes. It’s natural pest fighting capabilities makes it ideal for relaxing seating areas. These plants are pretty, fragrant and can grow quite large, but feel free to trim away to suit the needs of your space.

For gardening spaces, minglings in plants like basil and marigolds can help naturally keep pests away while adding fragrance and beauty!

Durable, Sustainable Outdoor Furniture

KidProof TrexI was recently given the opportunity to review the new line of Trex Outdoor Furniture and I am in love with it. My husband is a contractor, so I am familiar with the Trex decking materials. When I was contracted by Trex about the furniture I was very interested in learning more. Both my husband and I were surprised by the quality when it arrived to our home. The chairs required no assembly and feature no joints to rust, and the table went together in just a few easy steps.

If you are unfamiliar with Trex, they use a lumber called “Poly-Wood” which is a building material made from HDPE post-consumer bottle waste (like milk and detergent bottles) and other HDPE post industrial materials. In fact, this building materials are made up of over 90% recycled content by weight. The waterproof aspect of this furniture is really what gets me. It will not absorb moisture, and that is very much appreciated in an eating surface. Unlike wood, it doesn’t provide a good environment for mold and bacteria to grow. It can literally be wiped clean and eaten off of if a person is so inclined – or has little ones that don’t care if there is a plate in front of the or not!

The price point on the Trex furniture is on par with other high-end sets. It is more of an investment compared to standard seating, but because the materials are made from HDPE they are incredibly durable, fade-resistant, weather resistant and are even kid-proof – making them an investment in quality outdoor furniture that will last! We’ve already had several compliments on our set because of the evident quality, comfort and appearance. You can find them on Amazon, but check out their website as they offer sale prices for considerable savings!

Natural Attractions

Hummingbird FeederThere is something special about being outdoors and being surrounded with nature. Our children adore hummingbirds and butterflies and it’s not to hard to attract them!

To attract hummingbirds (like our little friend seen here), consider using plants like:

If a feeder is the way you’d like to go, consider using a 4:1 ratio of water to sugar – no food coloring! We use organic sugar (not Turbinado or Raw). I have read some concern over using organic sugar at all because it has not been tested, but I can say that when we put out the organic (again, not Turbinado or Raw) the hummingbirds flock to it, but when we use white sugar they are basically nowhere to be seen (we’ve tried this on our flighty friends many times, in an attempt to save money, with the same results.) I’m inclined to think that animals know what they need – and what they don’t.

To attract butterflies, consider:

  • Phlox
  • Daisies
  • Wildflower Mixes

While “Butterfly Bushes” are popular these days, it is worth mentioning that these plants are not indigenous to the United States and it is advised to use native plants in your outdoor spaces.

If you are very interested in attracting butterflies, it would be helpful to do some research on the types in your area and plant flowers based on that information.

Image by Lisa Jacobs To become a bee helper:

While we might not always want bees around, keeping plants on your property that help the bees is a wonderful way to help the environment.

Consider planting:

Butterflies generally enjoy these plants as well, just be sure to keep them away from seating areas and play sets.

There’s so much more…

While these tips can get you started, you don’t have to stop there. Considering natural elements for decor and elements that will help the wildlife in your area. You might consider:

  • Rocks, or pieces of untreated wood, instead of plastics for garden edging
  • A bird bath
  • Bird feeders
  • Squirrel feeders
  • A bird house
  • even a toad house!

What are your favorite elements in your outdoor spaces?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Meg April 8, 2013 at 11:09 am

Love your ideas! You’ve sold me on using geraniums and marigolds (also love phlox, daisies and wildflowers!) this year. My favorite part of our outdoor space is our raised beds and deck plantings — it’s awesome to have fresh, organic fruits, veggies and herbs at the ready from May ’til October (or longer, depending on the season). :-)

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Annabelle Randles April 11, 2013 at 5:58 am

Thanks for this. My parents live in the South of France and my mum keep geraniums on the balcony to keep mosquitoes at bay. She also keeps a bunch of carnivorous plants to deal with the flies.

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Micaela @MindfulMomma April 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm

The Trex furniture looks very nice – I’m impressed! I can not wait to get out the patio furniture and start spending time on the porch!

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Jesse @ Humble Seed April 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm

This is a great topic! I love the idea of keeping insect repelling plants outdoors in lieu of a pest control candle. We’re also thinking of building a butterfly garden as well – I’ll be sure to add some daisies and wildflowers per your suggestion. Thanks!

Jesse
Blogger @ Humbleseed.com

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