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Earth Day-inspired expert tips for taking care of your outdoor space

Protecting the earth for the future starts with your patio and backyard 



If Earth Day has you pondering ways you can help the planet, you don’t have to leave the comfort of home to make a difference. We turned to BestReviews home improvement expert Beth Allen for eco-friendly ideas for your outdoor living space that will help you make the world a bit greener. 

From solar-powered lights to water-conserving gadgets and more, Allen’s recommended products and advice make it possible to live with the spirit of Earth Day all year long. 

Setting up an eco-friendly patio 

Allen said that there are many ways to be green on your patio. She recommended furniture such as chairs and chaises that are made of resin. Another option, she advised, is recycling old furniture pieces by painting them with paints that don’t contain volatile organic compounds (VOC). “They have very little odor, and they are more earth-friendly,” she said. Allen also suggested painting and reusing containers such as coffee cans for flower pots.

When setting the table for outdoor meals, Allen said to opt for sustainable materials such as melamine instead of disposable plastic or paper.

If you don’t have natural shade, a shade sail is a good option that provides more than just a shady place to relax on your patio. “Adding shade to your patio will often cool the adjacent room of the house,” Allen said.

Conserving energy and water 

Part of being eco-conscious is saving water and energy whenever possible. When it comes to your outdoor living space, relying on the sun's power will conserve electricity. Allen suggested using solar-powered string and pathway lights to illuminate your patio, sidewalk, garden and more. Adding a solar-powered fountain to your property is also a nice touch. 

The tools you use also matter when living up to Earth Day standards. “You want to be looking for the battery-operated ones rather than the gas-powered (tools), ” Allen said, adding that battery-powered weed eaters, chain saws, trimmers and even mowers are available. 

Allen said using a rain barrel is a great way to save water. “A rain barrel is an absolutely great way to do that. You can attach the rain barrel to a downspout so you can collect that water and you can use it to either water your flower beds or your potted plants,” she said.

To keep plants hydrated, she advised using a soaker hose that provides slow-drip water-saving irrigation that reaches plant roots more effectively than when you use a standard garden hose. 

Planting and controlling pests sustainability

Allen also recommended tips for environmentally-friendly planting and pet control

  • Fill the bottoms of planters with wine bottle corks.
  • Apply organic fertilizer.
  • Repel pests such as mosquitoes and flies naturally with plants such as lavender, catmint, marigolds, sage and rosemary.
  • Plant a river birch tree in a wet area of your yard.
  • Choose native plants that will thrive in your area, and place them in areas to get just the right amount of sun and shade.
  • Use natural pest repellents such as vinegar and ultrasonic devices instead of chemicals. 

Best earth-friendly products for your outdoor space

Polywood Nautical Arms Chaise 

This outdoor chaise lounge fits the spirit of Earth Day perfectly, as it’s made of recycled plastic that’s durable and weather-resistant. It’s also adjustable so you can relax while enjoying time in your outdoor space. 

Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Wayfair

Montage Interior/Exterior Paint

Allen recommends Montage paint for its eco-friendly formula that’s made without pollutants. It’s a long-lasting paint that produces a nice finish and comes in an excellent selection of stylish colors. 

Sold by Amazon 

Shade & Beyond Sun Shade Sail Triangle

This well-made sun shade blocks as much as 98% of the sun’s rays yet is made of breathable material. You can choose from numerous colors and 24 sizes to accommodate the size and decor of your patio or deck. 

Sold by Amazon 

Brightown Crystal Globe Solar String Lights

This solar-powered strand features 60 round LED bulbs that will burn for 10 hours with a full charge. At around 35 feet, you can use it in numerous outdoor areas to create a beautiful glow when the sun goes down. It comes in a choice of six colors. 

Sold by Amazon 

Signature Garden Solar Garden Lights

Through rain or shine, these weatherproof solar lights will illuminate your walkway or garden. Easy to set up, they come with stakes that easily slide into the ground. The pack includes eight great-looking lights.

Sold by Amazon 

SunnyDaze Two-Tier Solar Fountain

Crafted of sturdy resin, this fountain gets its power from the sun’s rays. The dual levels create a lovely waterfall effect. It’s a beautiful piece that doesn’t require electricity and will complement any sustainable garden space. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Ego Power+ Cordless Lawn Mower

No fuel is required to power this mower that gets up to 45 minutes of mowing time with each full charge. The push-button start powers instantly, so you can also begin mowing without a hassle. A foldable handle, headlights and six cutting heights are also key highlights of its feature set. 

Sold by Amazon 

Black and Decker 40-Volt Max String Trimmer

Although it’s powered by a rechargeable battery, the 40-Volt Max does a great job knocking down weeds. It’s a lightweight model that also doubles as an edger, so it’s a versatile machine that can give your green space a freshly-manicured appearance. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

EarthMinded 45-gallon Rain Barrel

This attractive rain barrel can conserve up to 45 gallons of water and can be used as a planter thanks to the reversible lid. It’s made from resin that consists of up to 85% recycled materials. A spigot and hose are also included. 

Sold by Wayfair and Home Depot

Linex Heavy Duty Soaker Hose

According to Allen, a soaker hose is more effective at watering plants down to their roots without wasting excessive water. This model tops our list of favorites for dispensing water evenly and for having durable caps that are made to last. 

Sold by Amazon 

Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed Killer

Allen recommends using a natural product like Green Gobbler to kill weeds without putting harmful herbicides on your lawn and garden. Formulated with 20% vinegar, this product is highly effective at killing dandelions, crabgrass, moss and more. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Certified International Radiance Teal Melamine 12-piece Dinnerware Set

Allen likes this melamine dinnerware set for its durability and sustainable materials. The beautiful teal design will stand out on your patio table whenever you entertain outdoors. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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