Sustainable Summer Living: Eco-Wise Tips for Outdoor Spaces

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Having an outdoor space at home is an immense privilege. It can be an oasis from the pressures of day-to-day life and also serve a practical purpose for growing vegetables and other crops.

As summer rolls around, many people are looking to see how they can make the most of this space during the warmer months.

Alongside exploring how you can maximize your enjoyment, it’s just as important to consider how you can use your outdoor space more sustainably. While it can seem as though spending time outdoors is naturally a greener way of life than being inside with gadgets, some of the ways people treat their yards inadvertently cause damage to the environment.

So, let’s explore a few key tips to maintain an eco-friendly outdoor space that you and your family can fully and responsibly enjoy the summer months in.

Using Pools and Patios

swimming pool
Photo by Mwabonje Ringa on Pexels.com

Pools and patios have long been key features of outdoor summer living. Indeed, they can feel fairly innocuous as far as eco-friendliness goes.

Yet, there are some aspects of these features that can negatively affect the environment if not used cautiously. Some of the things to focus on include the following.

Pools

One of the main areas for attention with regard to sustainable pool use is water. Having to refill or top up your pool water can put unnecessary pressure on reservoirs and other sources. You can address this by using a pool cover.

Firstly, this minimizes excessive evaporation during the warmer months of the year that usually leads to refilling. It also protects against debris and other contamination occurring overnight, which reduces the frequency of complete draining and replacement.

Another way to achieve an eco-friendly pool is to avoid using unnecessary chemicals.

Chlorine can contribute to ozone pollution and introduces unnatural products to the water table. Emissions are produced and fuel is used when manufacturers transport these chemicals, too.

Saltwater pools are a more eco-friendly alternative, using a salt chlorinator unit rather than chemicals.

Patios

Surely patios have a limited negative environmental impact? Well, yes, but there are still some ways to make the way you use them more sustainable.

For instance, if you’re planning to spend evenings outside, you might want patio heaters. Investing in solar-powered electrical heaters is far more sustainable than traditional gas-powered items.

Similarly, solar-powered patio lighting can charge in the sun during the day, meaning you don’t need to use mains electricity to power them in the evenings.

Caring for Your Lawn and Plants

assorted plants with trees photography
Photo by Creative Vix on Pexels.com

Keeping your lawn healthy and beautiful helps to make it a wonderful space for enjoying the summer months.

Whether you’re relaxing in a hammock, playing with the kids, or growing vegetables, it’s an enriching spot to be in.

It also takes a great deal of care to maintain, often using a lot of resources, so it’s vital you find sustainable ways to look after your outdoor space. 

Some of beneficial ways you can cultivate an eco-friendly lawn include:

Minimizing chemicals

As with maintaining your pool, minimizing your chemical usage is essential for sustainable lawn care.

Some chemical herbicides you might use on flowers or vegetable gardens are suspected to have carcinogenic effects. Not to mention that these add unnatural products to the soil. Wherever possible, go natural here.

For instance, perform manual weed pulling or use natural weed killers, like clove oil.  

Watering responsibly

person holding a watering hose with sprinkler
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Irrigation of lawns and vegetable gardens can put pressure on local water resources. Therefore, adopting responsible watering methods and routines is a must.

One approach to this is using drip hoses that slowly release water at ground level. This uses less water than sprinklers and wastes less fluid through evaporation.

Collecting rainwater in a barrel can also minimize how much you use the central water supply.

It can also be positive to work with your neighbors to ensure a more holistically sustainable approach to lawn care throughout your community. This may involve showing everyone how to effectively collect rainwater and perhaps even share it when others’ supplies are running low. 

If you’re growing vegetables in your yard, encouraging each of your neighbors to grow different types of produce and sharing the bounty is a mutually beneficial initiative. Not only do you all gain from good access to organic produce, but it may also enrich the soil of the local area.

Indeed, you can arrange to rotate different crops between neighbors each year to ensure each person’s garden can recover nutrients.

Balancing Pollinators and Pests

brown flying bee
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

One of the most important roles your outdoor spaces play during the summer months is to support wildlife. Your plants and flowers can attract pollinators that are vital for the health of the local ecosystem and ensuring crop growth, among other benefits.

Yet, there are also seasonal pests that can disturb your comfort and even damage your plants and vegetables. It’s important to find sustainable ways to create a balance between supporting pollinating insects and discouraging pests.

Pollinators

Positively attracting pollinators is largely about making strategic plant choices. The most important thing you can do here is to plant native items in your yard.

The pollinators have evolved alongside local plant life and are, therefore, most attracted to native pollen and produce. By prioritizing these species you’re supporting the natural relationship between pollinators and plants while also avoiding negatively affecting the soil with non-native species that draw excessive nutrients.

Pests

With regard to unwanted guests, seasonal pest prevention measures don’t have to be chemical in nature. It’s important to focus your efforts on minimizing invasive summer pest species, like ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes.

One approach is to avoid having standing water anywhere in your yard, as this attracts mosquitoes. 

You should also encourage the cultivation of these pests’ natural predators, like spiders and bats. Indeed, one of your focuses for planting can be to include some species that are attractive habitats for these helpers.

Evening primrose and snowdrops tend to draw bats, while tall plants — like sunflowers — and those with dense foliage make great homes for arachnids.

Conclusion

Sustainable summer living isn’t difficult to achieve, but it does require a little planning and adjustment. This includes minimizing the use of chemicals in both pools and yards, as well as finding ways to attract pollinators and natural pest controllers. 

Effectively, the key is leaning toward more organic activities rather than introducing artificial elements. The closer you can get your outdoor space to having many of the features of the natural world, the better chance you have of a sustainable summer oasis.

  • Katie Brenneman

    Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in sustainability, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. She is a graduate of UCR where she discovered her love for health, eco-friendly lifestyles, and writing. When she isn't article brainstorming, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.

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