Designing Sustainable Outdoor Living Spaces

Designing Sustainable Outdoor Living Spaces

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Our world was radically modified about three years in the past firstly of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. With individuals spending most of their time at residence, working remotely, and being extra cautious on the whole, the demand for outside residing elevated considerably.

My profession has revolved round enhancing outside residing practices. During my time working with Trex, a composite decking firm, we developed options for efficient rain drainage on and underneath the deck, together with preserving the deck framing.

In current instances, individuals have come to cherish their outside areas, viewing them as important extensions of their residing areas. They additionally need to make design decisions which might be sustainable and environmentally accountable. Fortunately, there at the moment are many handy and budget-friendly choices to create a shocking and environmentally responsible backyard.

Outdoor Living

According to the Outdoor Living Report from Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens, a overwhelming majority of Americans stated they had been thinking about updating their outside areas. Decks, yards, patios, and porches all ranked excessive amongst their most well-liked outside enjoyable and leisure locations.

Designing outside areas in a manner that respects the environment requires innovation and creativity. How do you assemble a sustainable sanctuary outdoors and respect nature – and make it handy to make use of?

Sustainable Decks

Building a sustainable deck is an effective begin. Choosing a recycled materials, like aluminum or Trex composite decking, reduces the necessity for uncooked supplies and vitality in manufacturing. Trex composite, for instance, is produced from 95% recycled supplies, together with plastic and reclaimed wooden. It retains its engaging look, is sturdy, and lasts a very long time. Trex’s sustainable composite materials can also be designed to be low-maintenance.

In 2021, Trex diminished Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse fuel emissions by 33% in comparison with 2020. Trex moreover prioritizes the communities the place they function, serving to to gather plastic waste in lots of of retail places via one of many largest plastic recycling applications within the nation. In 2021, via its NexTrex program, Trex rerouted over 1 million kilos of plastic from landfills.

Although some householders might select to make use of wooden, I’m assured that composite decking pays off if you weigh all of the ecological elements.

Photo credit score: Trex Protect and Trex RainEscape

If you select to make use of wooden, search for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label. This certifies that the wooden has been sourced responsibly with restricted impression on pure assets. Check for domestically sourced wooden from forests close to you, if attainable, to scale back the emissions related to transport lumber hundreds of miles.

Certain wooden sorts are preferable as a result of their sustainable sourcing and sturdiness. Woods like ipê (Brazilian handroanthus) and bamboo are nature-friendly decisions, as each final a very long time.  Bamboo is a renewable useful resource that grows shortly, which helps decrease its impression on the surroundings.

Natural Water Features

Installing water features, corresponding to a solar-powered fountain or a self-sustaining pond, can present a soothing ambiance with out extreme electrical energy utilization or opposed environmental impacts. The peaceable sounds of flowing water may be soothing after an extended day, particularly once they contribute positively to your yard’s ecosystem. These choices additionally lend themselves to more healthy, moisturized air.

water feature
Photo credit score: Trex Protect and Trex RainEscape

Planting Ideas

Speaking of the air we breathe, incorporating plants can improve the environment of your yard and deck areas. Determine the USDA hardiness zone of your area that can assist you choose crops that may do effectively the place you reside. Some crops will thrive in cooler or dryer climate, the place others flourish in humidity and many solar. Native plants will help assist native ecosystems and pollinators. The addition of pure components like rocks and water options, along with being enjoyable for you, might make your yard a haven for wildlife.

Light It Up!

Shining some gentle in your deck and yard at night time shouldn’t be costly, nor vitality intensive. LED lights are straightforward on the surroundings, are sturdy, and final a very long time. Soffit lights, that are put in within the space beneath the roof overhang, can create dramatic lighting, however are additionally good for softer hues.

Lighting in outdoor living space
Photo credit score: Trex Protect and Trex RainEscape

Do you want lights in darkish locations? No downside, these lights can be utilized like floodlights or to highlight an unlit nook. If you’re searching for recessed lighting, soffit lights may be put in underneath the deck. They may even be put in in a pergola.

Also, take into account illuminating landscape features or a walkway utilizing LED or solar lights. Utilizing lights along side crops to accentuate the visible impact of your yard at night time makes for an attractive and beautiful show.

Backyard Conservation

Sensible stewardship of your outside area isn’t nearly selecting the right materials, it’s additionally about clever design and efficient conservation methods. The story of Trex, and my very own journey in manufacturing our merchandise, illustrate how this may be achieved.

To start with, we’ve all the time been dedicated to integrating environmental conservation into our enterprise. Our drive in the direction of sustainability extends past the product to how we affect outside area administration.

One instance of that is our method to water conservation. If your yard tends to gather water, we advocate putting in a sturdy drainage system. This protects your deck from water injury, prevents soil erosion, and reduces sediment build-up that might hurt native waterways. Notably, it additionally lessens the probabilities of a mosquito infestation in addition to water-related structural points.

Take a holistic view of outside area administration and take into account getting skilled enter. We encourage householders to seek the advice of design professionals who can assess your panorama and advocate options tailor-made to your distinctive scenario. The options may embody putting in a French drain system, making a rain garden, or different context-specific interventions.

We are ardent advocates for using water wisely. Our method emphasizes methods that scale back water utilization and promote sustainability. For occasion, we encourage householders to collect rainwater to hydrate their crops, choose drought-resistant crops, and even let their grass go dormant when essential.

From my private expertise in development, I consider that accountable stewardship of our outside areas shouldn’t be an afterthought however a guideline. As such, we purpose to design merchandise that not solely respect the surroundings but additionally assist householders scale back their environmental impression.

Design for the Environment

While there are a lot of solutions we will make use of for constructing a healthy ecosystem in our yards and on our decks, it’s essential that we take into account all of the issues that we do, each good and dangerous. Though we don’t imply to, some actions we partake in may be detrimental to the earth. With somewhat effort there are methods to counter or scale back adverse impacts, and to swing the consequences in nature’s favor.

When conserving sustainability in focus, there are a number of issues you are able to do to make sure your yard or deck is harmonious with the surroundings.

Build with ecologically helpful materials. Certain woods are extra environmentally pleasant than others. Composite decking, like Trex, can also be a first-rate instance of an ecologically accountable materials.

Take benefit of nature’s bounties. Use the shade out of your timber or the solar’s pure path to assist plan your patio – or to plant your backyard.

Finally, take into account refurbishing furnishings or make the most of sustainable décor on your deck. Remember, the secret is to scale back your carbon footprint by recycling, repurposing, and reusing at any time when attainable.

Dave KileAbout the Author

Dave Kile is the proprietor of IBP, LLC, the corporate behind among the decking business’s most profitable improvements, together with Trex® RainEscape® , Trex® Protect™, and Trex® Seal™. Over the previous three many years, he has achieved incremental success by immersing himself within the business, listening to prospects and bringing new merchandise to market that enhance effectivity and effectiveness.