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Sustainable Landscaping Materials

Updated on June 19, 2013

As our climate warms, more people have begun to realize that we need to be more efficient in the use of limited Earths resources. This also extends to building, landscaping and home design. Sustainable landscaping materials have become more popular to use for outside landscape design, including the use of recycled glass, concrete, tires, salvaged materials and composite wood products (such as fencing using recycled plastics)

Besides the use of the materials, what does a sustainable landscape in your home really embody?

"A sustainable landscape is designed to be both attractive and in balance with the local climate and environment and it should require minimal resource inputs. Thus, the design must be functional, cost-efficient, visually pleasing, environmentally friendly and maintainable"

A beautiful path made out of recycled bricks

This beautiful path at Shinn Park in Fremont, Ca, was made from recycled bricks. Lovely colors mixed together make a stunning path. Great use of sustainable landscaping materials.
This beautiful path at Shinn Park in Fremont, Ca, was made from recycled bricks. Lovely colors mixed together make a stunning path. Great use of sustainable landscaping materials. | Source

A beautiful use of landscaping materials

A beautiful example of a sitting area done with sustainable materials in a backyard garden landscape.
A beautiful example of a sitting area done with sustainable materials in a backyard garden landscape. | Source

More recycled brick ideas

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A dry river bed in my yard

This "river" in my yard was made from stones and rocks I had collected over the years.. I put them all together to make a dry river bed under my orange tree. Sustainable landscaping materials make good use of what you already have.
This "river" in my yard was made from stones and rocks I had collected over the years.. I put them all together to make a dry river bed under my orange tree. Sustainable landscaping materials make good use of what you already have. | Source

Re-Use, Re-Cycle, Re-Purpose

Sustainable landscaping does not mean that you need to build an ugly yard, it simply means you are going to be mindful of the materials you use to build a beautiful, cost efficient yard that has a low carbon footprint - you work at saving water through the use of drip irrigation systems, preserve power by using solar powered lights and incorporate the use of composting to grow your garden vegetables and plants.

Some ideas for sustainable landscaping materials you can use in your yard:

  • Recycled bricks to build pathways. A good place to find these are on Craigslist. People re-doing their yards frequently place ads for free bricks and pavers (this is a great way to recycle and reuse some beautiful materials) Some of my favorite bricks are old bricks that my father had used in his home. I built a lovely little sitting area with them.
  • Recycled concrete. Same idea. Check Craigslist to find people giving away chunks of concrete that homeowners have torn out in their yard. Concrete like this makes wonderful pavers and stepping stones in a yard (plus they give it that nice "shabby chic" appeal to your yard)
  • Reuse existing wood either by painting it or staining it instead of replacing it. Wood is a precious resource and expensive to buy. Consider using what you already have and if that doesn't work - think about reusing fence materials to build garden boxes and raised garden beds (just make sure that they are not treated with creosote, which will leach out into your vegetables and make you sick)
  • Compost from a composter in your yard. No need to buy compost anymore! I compost everything from our kitchen except meats and starches (you don't want these in your compost) I throw grass clippings in there, extra dirt from pots, vegetable peelings, egg shells, coffee grinds and leaves. You would be amazed at how much less garbage you put out on the curb once you start composting. If you can't compost yourself, some waste materials plants will give you free bags of compost from time to time. Composting saves a lot of trash from going to the landfill. And compost is one of the best things you can add to your vegetable garden to grow luscious fruits and vege's full of live giving vitamins and nutrients.


Recycled sustainable projects in my backyard

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My favorite sustainable landscaping materials

As an artist and one that does "re-cycled art", one of my favorite materials to use in my yard are old pieces of furniture and "junk" I find. No one is ever surprised when I bring home a new "treasure" that I found on the side of the road or at a garage sale. Some of my favorites:

  • The use of old dressers, toilets and old stainless pans to make planters in my yard. The last project I made was from a decorative home piece that I re-purposed into a planter. I saved it from going to the dumps and it looks great hanging on my shop!
  • A bathtub that I rescued and made into a planter in my yard. It's roomy, deep and one of the most talked about pieces in my garden!
  • A kids toy wagon that I made into a succulent planter. This one gets lots of ohhh's and awww's.
  • Old tires as garden planters (also makes a cute spot for small children to sit)

Once you start using sustainable landscaping materials in your yard, chances are that you will become hooked. Although some homeowners hire a sustainable landscaper to plan and landscape their yard, you can get your own ideas on sustainable landscaping by visiting some of my green living ideas here at Pinterest. I also have a Pinterest board on recycled and repurposed items that gives you lots of visuals on things you can build for your yard that are eco-friendly, cost effective and beautiful additions to the landscape of your yard and garden.

Low maintenance landscaping

Comments

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  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    toknowinfo) Thank you so much. I am so glad you enjoyed it!

  • toknowinfo profile image

    toknowinfo 

    6 years ago

    Hi Dorsi,

    This is a beautifully designed article with lots of useful info. You have wonderful ideas and I appreciate you sharing them. Voted up, beautiful, awesome, and interesting

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Cyber) Thanks for reading, What's really cool is when you can take things from the inside that you plan to get rid and re-purpose them outside:)

    @akirchner) lol I could only imagine how hard it would be too keep anything intact with 3 mals. My sons 2 pitbulls live with us, plus Simon and now Indie. You never know what destruction you will find! So re-purposed items make EVEN more sense!

    @Virginia) Thanks Virginia, I'd love to see some of your recycled art!

  • VirginiaLynne profile image

    Virginia Kearney 

    6 years ago from United States

    I am right with you Dorsi! My husband and I have created many sustainable gardens in several different states. Another part of that for us is making sure we use low water gardening, since water is an important issue in the Southern U.S. areas we've always lived. We especially try to eliminate grass unless it is used as a play area. We've replaced it with low water plants, concrete, brick paths and recycled wood mulch. Terrific ideas in your hub! I love to make recycled art too. Voted up and pinned!

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    6 years ago from Washington

    Great article, Dorsi - I'm all for recycling everything! We go up into the mountains here (watching for timer rattlers all the time) and get rocks for our backyard as we have a gigantic slope. We also do lots of low maintenance landscaping because water is sometimes a problem in this region and of course we have 3 big-footed malamutes who can wipe out most things easily in 5 seconds~ I'm all for preserving what we have on this planet though and SUPER ideas!

  • CyberShelley profile image

    Shelley Watson 

    6 years ago

    Hello Dorsi, what wonderful ideas, I've kept most of my re-cycling, frugal living thought inside the home - this is great and you have given me marvellous ideas for outside! Voted up, interesting and shared.

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