How to Design a Sustainable Backyard: Tips and Ideas

Living sustainably may sometimes feel impractical or unattainable, especially if you live in an urban or even a suburban setting. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You, too, can create a sustainably designed backyard that allows you to reduce your impact on the environment. Make your outdoor corner of the world a little more in tune with nature with these helpful tips and ideas.

Be Mindful of Your Climate

When planning your backyard design, it’s important to be mindful of the climate, as it can play a huge role in determining the type of space that you can create. For instance, if you live in a relatively dry climate, then you’ll want to take out the lawn and replace it with ground cover with mulch, succulents, or low-water use plants. This includes options such as Aloe, Senecio, Kangaroo Paw, and Camelia Japonica, for example.

The most important thing is to put plants in place that are adaptable to the climate conditions as well as the soil, sun, and shade conditions. It’s also important to consider the maintenance requirements of the plants and consider incorporating native plants that can attract pollinators and support local ecosystems.

Opt for Sustainable Garden Structures

How to Design a Sustainable Backyard: Tips and Ideas

Using sustainable reclaimed wood for any garden structures or raised beds can help reduce the environmental impact of your gardening practices as well. Sustainable reclaimed wood advantages are numerous and include the fact that it’s environmentally friendly and reduces the need for new timber.

Be Water Smart

Ideally, you should opt for a weather-based water system that allows you to work with the environment as opposed to against it. For instance, if the weather report schedules rain for one day, a weather-based system will pick that up and reduce or cancel the water for that particular day.

You may also want to put in place a drip system that runs along the root system of the plants so that each plant is individually taken care of and you don’t waste water with sprinkler systems.

Another way to reduce water usage is to choose plants that are native to your area and therefore adapted to the local climate and water availability.

Work With Nature

Eliminating or drastically reducing the use of synthetic chemicals is a very important step in creating a sustainable backyard. With fertilizers, use compost everywhere. For insect control, pick pests off by hand.

Also, make sure to include plants and trees that will provide shelter and nesting sites and even food sources through berries, seeds, and nuts.

How to Design a Sustainable Backyard: Tips and Ideas

Ditch the Lawn

Instead of a traditional turf grass lawn or bare soil, add lushness and interest to your garden with sustainable alternatives, such as low-growing perennial ground cover.  Remember to choose plants that are low-maintenance and thrive in your area’s climactic conditions. Low-growing perennials like creeping thyme, wintergreen, wild ginger, and clovers are good at holding onto the soil and moisture while providing soft ground cover that can handle light foot traffic.

What’s more, if you allow these plants to grow together and knit together tightly, they will smother out any of the perennial weeds that are trying to poke their way out and reach the sun. You may also add dandelion, chamomile, and yarrow to create a vibrant grassy area that adds a pop of colour to your backyard.

You Can Do It!

If you’ve ever wanted to create a beautiful backyard that is also sustainable, you can. Remember to make good use of all resources by capturing rainwater and then storing and distributing it cleverly. Use eco-friendly materials that are either biodegradable or recyclable whenever possible, and grow a diverse array of plants.

While it might seem overwhelming to take on all of these steps at the same time, you don’t have to. Just focus on one area and work out from there as time and energy permit. At the end of the day, it all adds up.