DIY Backyard Improvements that are Sustainable for the Planet and Your Home

As the warmer months approach, we could all use a backyard summer project. Consider improvements that will both beautify your home and the planet. Since the earth doesn’t have a home insurance policy, it’s up to us to conserve the beautiful spaces we have, and protect our home in the process.

Plant a garden

Not only can a backyard garden be a tasty project, it’s a great one for getting you connected with the environment as you pay attention to the seasons, the weather, and learn which plants grow best in your region. Gardens can be as simple as a small patch of dirt or an herb box on the patio, or as elaborate as a series of backyard greenhouses. If you’re new to gardening, you can start small and see where your curiosity takes you.

Whether or not you’d like your garden to be edible, consider planting vegetation that is native to the region. The Washington Native Plant Society has a directory of plants for Washington state, from vine maples to lady ferns. Backyard plants can also grow over time to provide a barrier of privacy between you and your neighbors, shade to cool your home in the summer, and a place of serenity year round.

Going solar

You don’t necessarily need to install solar panels on your home to utilize the sun’s free energy (though that’s a great option if it’s feasible for you!). Consider outdoor lighting that is powered by the sun during the day and then used at night. This will add a beautiful, welcoming ambiance to your yard as well as provide natural security during the night. Some sprinkler systems or backyard fountains also have options for utilizing solar energy. Looking to update your outdoor security system? There are solar-powered options that can connect to your internet and keep your home secure while using reusable energy.

Rain barrel

In the Pacific Northwest, one of our most abundant resources is the rain, whether it’s soft mist, a steady drizzle, or on the rare occasion, a torrential downpour. Tap into this resource with a rain barrel, which sits underneath a downspout and collects water as it rains. You can then use this water for all your backyard watering needs, from the garden to washing off your pet’s muddy paws after a walk. You can use these step-by-step guidelines from Lowes to make sure you’re installing it properly and not causing damage to your home in the process.

Picking sustainable materials

Whether you’re looking for some lounge chairs, planters, play equipment, or garden fixtures, consider picking products that use recycled materials. You can also buy from companies that have sustainable practices, whether that’s replanting forests or not using harmful chemicals in the creation of their products. You, your family, and the environment will be happier for it!