Californians are no strangers to eco-friendly living, especially with the abundance of green homes in Santa Cruz dedicated to sustainability. Everything from a healthier living environment, to economic benefits, and of course a positive impact on the environment are all brilliant benefits of living in green homes, but what about your backyards? If you are curious about taking your green home to the next level, here are 5 ways to make an eco-friendly backyard, your conscious oasis!
With water restrictions and droughts throughout California, Xeriscaping allows home owners to still enjoy the benefits of having a garden. This alternative makes a positive impact on the environment by conserving water while reducing the use of synthetics and pesticides. A fundamental part of Xeriscaping is using native plants and flora, as they've evolved to thrive well in a specific region. These types of species are low maintenance options, requiring less water, and pesticides. Native plants also help in attracting bees for pollination! Drought resistant plants are key to the design and success of a Xeriscape garden. Lawns are not typical of Xeriscapes, so a nice way to break up all of the dedicated areas for plant growth is to mix in a rock garden or an other permeable feature like a patio made of stones.
2. Eco-friendly Fixtures & Finishings
Once you've implemented your Xeriscape oasis, you'll still have other ways to add to your eco-friendly design. When shopping for furniture or accessories, check to see if products are made with sustainable materials. Furniture made of Acacia wood, bamboo, teak, recycled aluminum, or plastic are great alternatives to add to your green home design. If you are planning to build a deck or some kind of wood feature in your backyard, an eco-friendly material such as composite is an alternative to lumber. Many features are built without sustainably-sourced wood. The upkeep entails the use a lot of harsh chemicals, which doesn't align well with your green home! TimberTech and Fiberon are both highly durable for years to come, made of recycled wood and post-consumer plastic. It looks nearly identical to authentic wood and has up to a 25-year warranty.
3. Solar Powered Lights
Solar power lights have evolved to more than just the little lights that keep you from stumbling on your pathways at dusk! Solar lights are now available in a variety of different colors and styles, suited for just about any outdoor environment. You can choose to have them installed permanently or for temporary use. With all of the sunshine available in Santa Cruz, home owners can easily benefit from replacing all lighting fixtures outside. It's one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Another benefit is not having to worry about wasting electricity, especially when you are away from home for an extended period of time.
4. Installing Permeable Hardscapes
A great way to conserve storm water runoff is to replace impervious materials which block water absorption into the grounds. This can be a creative project or a fun way to strategically decorate your backyard into your green home plan. Paver stones placed on top of a sand base allow for runoff to sink into the ground by putting space between each piece. You can do this by putting soil, rocks, or gravel between the paver stones to help with the infiltration of water. An offshoot technique of this idea is to create a rock garden in your Xeriscape design. Pervious hardscapes can be implemented throughout the property, including your driveway.
5. Recycling Alternatives
One of the most important elements of creating and sustaining an eco-friendly home design is to find opportunities to recycle. Instead of buying new materials, it's worthwhile to check out thrift stores or auctions for clay pots, glass jars, and gardening tools. One of the best places to find striking planters can be found in antique stores. Reusing fine China vases and bowls make for an interesting conversation piece while taking care of the impact of your carbon footprint.