how to extreme

Create an Environmentally Friendly Backyard

Construction How-To, Decks, Gardening, Landscaping, Landscaping, Outdoor Living, Porches and Gazebos July 8, 2016 Sonia

The same mindset applies for any plant life you want to include in the design. Local nurseries will have the knowledge and experience to help choose the best plants to thrive in your yard’s unique habitat—whether shady or sunny, wet soil or arid ground.

Choose with the future in mind

Many consumers today have gotten used to a “throw-away” mentality. With inexpensive products available in abundance, discarding something before the end of its useful life sounds okay, but is a landfill really the best option?

Some products that are made from recycled products, such as composite lumber that features recycled plastic, cannot be recycled again. They’re a one-time-use product. Natural wood products such as redwood, though, can be refinished and even repurposed for other items: a deck can become a bench or planters.


Don’t rebuild or tear down what you don’t have to

Much like future-proofing your purchases, don’t discount existing structures immediately. In many cases, something that looks run-down like a pergola or patio still has a number of useful years of service left. A thorough cleaning and refinishing not only helps protect but also prolongs its usefulness.

Make a greener space with less greenspace

Many assume that designing a backyard “oasis” means investing heavily in plant life, and committing to the work it takes to keep that plant life alive and thriving. With some parts of the country facing limited water resources, and a trend among homeowners who prefer enjoying their leisure time instead of working on their leisure space, consider the beauty found in plantings that require less water, and landscaping designs that minimize the presence of grass.

Plant with a purpose

Even if you are limiting your green space in your back yard, get the most out of your plantings and incorporate plants that serve a dual purpose, such as herbs or fruit-bearing plants and trees. Not only does it add visual variety to your space, but helps the yard work harder for you—and isn’t that what we’d like our home-improvement investments to do?


With a little time spent planning and considering the full potential of your space, anyone can make their back yards greener, more welcoming, and enjoyable in every season. From making the most of what is already there to layering in naturally sustainable materials like redwood, it’s easier than most think.

Editor’s Note: Charlie Jourdain is president of the California Redwood Association. Founded in 1916, the California Redwood Association is one of the oldest trade associations in the lumber industry. From the very beginning, the association’s primary mission has been to promote redwood products and educate builders. Contact or (888) CAL-REDWOOD.