- 1 - Tree Care
- 2 - Lose the Lawn
- 3 - Plant Native
- 4 - Xeriscape
- 5 - Install Solar
- 6 - Grow Your Own Food
- 7 - Compost
- 8 - Reuse and Repurpose
- 9 - Update Sustainably
Once the weather starts to warm up again, you may find yourself thinking about outdoor projects to take on so you can spend more time enjoying the sunshine.
That said, you’re probably also noticing that summers now look different than they did even a few years ago. As climate change accelerates, so too does the environmental damage associated with it.
Here are a few outdoor projects you can try this summer to be more eco-friendly and reduce your environmental impact:
1 – Tree Care
If you already have trees, make sure to do maintenance to make sure they’re healthy for years to come, and if you don’t have trees, consider planting some.
Make sure that you leave plenty of room for them to grow big and healthy, and don’t forget to consider the impact of shade. Every tree you plant is a powerhouse taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, storing the carbon safely in the tree and the soil while releasing the oxygen into the atmosphere.
2 – Lose the Lawn
The trademark suburban lawn is actually a nightmare for the environment.
It needs to be watered, it needs to be mowed and it doesn’t create a welcoming environment for biodiversity.
On top of that, they frequently use pesticides and herbicides to keep them looking neat and tidy. Those chemicals all have to go somewhere, and it’s nowhere good.
If you have a lawn, consider reinventing it this summer. It will save you time and money, and it can help to save the environment at the same time.
3 – Plant Native
Consider replacing your imported and potentially invasive plantings with some native plants.
Native plants are already well adapted to the environment you live in, so they often need less special care and maintenance.
On top of that, they’re frequently important food sources for local wildlife, migrating birds, butterflies, and bees.
4 – Xeriscape
Water conservation is another great reason to redesign your lawn, and another factor to consider if you are doing some landscaping.
Xeriscaping is the practice of designing your landscapes to reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water, and it is particularly important in arid climates and some of the places hit hardest by climate change.
It’s also a great way to reduce your water bill and save money.
5 – Install Solar
If you don’t have trees or can’t plant them for any reason, remember that doesn’t mean you can’t make a positive impact.
Look at your roof, then look at a solar panel output calculator to see your home’s solar potential.
You might be able to reduce your reliance on non-renewable energy, reducing your personal carbon footprint all in one fell swoop.
6 – Grow Your Own Food
You can also save money (and the environment) by growing your own food. This is especially a fun project for families, as gardening is a great way to get everyone outside and working together. It’s fun to watch your seedlings turn into something you can put on the table and eat.
Replacing some or all of your green lawns with garden beds is a great way to supplement your groceries and reduce your dependency on imported vegetables which inevitably are shipped in packaging that then has to be recycled or sent to the landfill.
7 – Compost
You can also reduce waste by doing your own composting.
Not only is this good for the environment, but it also creates dirt that you can use in your garden and it’s great for the local insects.
It also gets smelly food waste out of your kitchen trash and gives you something to do with all the leaves that come down in the fall. Composting will take food waste out of the landfill and turn it into dirt that you can use in your garden.
8 – Reuse and Repurpose
While you’re repurposing waste into compost, consider other ways to reuse and repurpose.
Instead of buying all new lawn furniture, maybe you can refurbish existing pieces or upcycle old, broken furniture into something unique and beautiful.
Repurpose old bowls and broken items into beautiful, unique planters. This gives them a second chance to shine and saves you from contributing to a landfill or wasting money on buying something new.
9 – Update Sustainably
Whatever you are doing to update your lawn, make sure you’re doing it as much in a sustainable way as possible.
If you’re adding a deck, for example, make sure that the lumber was sustainably grown or made from reclaimed materials. You can do the same with your fences. There are many sustainable materials, or you can even grow your own fence with ornamental grasses or hedges.
If you have outdoor lighting fixtures, make sure that they are energy-efficient. Every change you make is a chance to do better.
There’s no reason you can’t have fun while fighting climate change. These projects are all great ways to get outside, get working and save the planet all at the same time.