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Five great eco friendly products for your yard

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By Alexandra Kerr

Making simple changes around your backyard and garden can lower maintenance costs, reduce waste and help stop environmental damage from chemicals, deforestation and water shortages. Switching to renewable materials reduces your impact on the planet, and replacing harmful ingredients with natural gardening materials provides a safer, cleaner outdoor area for your home.

1. Rain Barrels

One of the easiest ways to reduce your water usage is to collect rainwater. Purchase a rain collection barrel to place somewhere in your yard to capture any rainfall, which can then be used to water your landscaping.

Rather than always relying on sprinklers or manual waterings from a hose, let nature collect the water you need to keep your garden growing.

Simply dip a watering can into the barrel to collect the water, and enjoy your reduced monthly bill.

Pick a barrel made of recycled plastic or wood to remain environmentally friendly.

Be sure to keep the barrel covered during hot summers when no rain is expected. Mosquitos often use pools of still water to breed, and can carry disease.

2. Water Conservation Kits

Conserving water is a major issue for most yards, as flowers, lawns, trees and various other types of landscaping need multiple waterings per week or day. Up to 120 gallons of water per day can be used outdoors in the yard. Installing water delivery systems that reduce the amount of water used will not only lower your impact on local water supplies and the environment, but your monthly water bill as well. Consider installing:

Water saving garden hose nozzles

Garden hose timers

Hose leak repair patches

Water saving sprinkler and irrigation systems

3. Green furniture

Decorating your lawn, deck or patio with relaxing furniture is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Rather than using plastic, however, purchase chairs, couches and tables made of eco-friendly, renewable materials.

Sustainable wood furniture ensures you aren't hurting the environment and contributing to deforestation by guaranteeing the wood used to create the pieces came from easily renewed trees. Treat wood furniture with sealants to protect them against the weather so they'll need replacing less often.

If you do want plastic furniture in your yard, make sure it is recycled.

For any fabrics on chairs or couches, consider recycled plastic. It can be made to feel as soft as cotton, and reduces landfill waste by converting old bags and bottles into usable fabrics.

4. Natural Fertilizer

Rather than dumping bag-fulls of chemicals into your soil, consider using natural fertilizers. Not only will you reduce the amount of contaminants released into the environment, you'll also ensure your friends and family are never exposed to harmful substances when enjoying your backyard. Further, as natural fertilizers build up over time, they increase the richness of your soil, growing healthier plants. Try one of these natural substitutes for manmade fertilizers:

Compost made of living plants

Manure

Grass clippings/mulch

Leaves

Coffee grounds

5. Replacing Vinyl With Bamboo

Vinyl trellises are a common addition to gardens and yards, but can easily be replaced by a more eco-friendly option. Bamboo wood trellises provide an environmentally conscious and aesthetically pleasing alternative to vinyl. Bamboo trees are fast growing, so they can quickly be replenished, and add a more natural feel to your yard than vinyl pieces. Other items to change from plastic to bamboo include:

Chairs

Tables

Archways

Accessories

You don't need a big budget to make the switch to environmentally friendly yard and garden products. Small changes like switching fertilizers, collecting rainwater, and purchasing environmentally conscious furniture can make all the difference. Be aware of your water usage when watering landscaping, and purchase water conserving accessories when possible. Your maintenance bills will go down, while your contributions to the planet go up.

This article was originally posted on IdealHomeGarden.com

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