Making your home eco-friendly is essential if you want to save valuable natural resources. Every little bit helps when diminishing the amount of water and energy we use. That doesn’t mean you have to live in a log cabin with no running water or electricity. You just have to get creative with the design. Check out these eco-friendly design tips for your home makeover that will save you money and save the planet.
Xeriscape the Yard
Why not reduce the size of your lawn and xeriscape the yard? That doesn’t mean you have to pull up every blade of grass and replace the lawn with cacti. But by adding more hardscaping and flower beds to your yard, you won’t have to spend as much time mowing or fertilizing. You’ll also be cutting back on the amount of water you use. Choose native plants already adapted to the local climate. Big berry manzanita and monkey flower will add color to your yard without much work or water. Add organic
mulch to keep your plants happy year-round.
Don’t forget about shade trees. The Texas umbrella tree or the golden medallion tree are two natives to consider planting on the side of your home that gets the most sun. They can lower the temperature of your home by as much as 5 degrees and provide windbreaks in the winter.
Use Plants as Natural Air Fresheners
Plants are also a great way to help purify the air within your home. Instead of using scented wax or chemicals air fresheners, consider indoor plants that clean the air naturally. Indoor plants can also provide considerable interest to a room and come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Hang plants in front of windows or add a few smaller plants along a windowsill. Not only are plants an eco-friendly option, but they also help to reduce tension and stress.
Install Low-Flow Utilities
There are enough products on the market now that choosing low-flow options for your toilets, sinks, and showers should be easy. Low-flow utilities cut down on the amount of water your household uses, and the amount of energy it takes to heat that water. Upgrading to new models will reduce your water consumption as well as the headaches an older model can bring with leaky pipes and maintenance issues.
Another way to make your home eco-friendly? Seal drafty areas. Choosing energyefficient windows and doors will help keep the heat inside in the winter and prevent the cool air from escaping in the summer. Double-pane windows are standard, but triplepane options are also available.
Make Smart Selections
Choose furniture and building materials created from sustainable resources. So much raw material goes into building a house, it’s sometimes tempting to choose the cheapest options. But selecting reclaimed or recycled material is a great way to support the environment. Not only are strand bamboo wood and hickory allspice flooring natural, but they also add warmth and value to your home.
Clarence Luna is a freelance writer and former teacher who enjoys gardening and do-ityourself projects. His current goal: grow tomato plants in his garden as tall as his 6-foot