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A Greener Backyard

green backyardIt's summertime and we've been spending a lot of time in our backyard.  Especially with a toddler running everywhere, I've been thinking about ways to make our backyard a more eco-friendly place to spend time.  Here are some ideas:

- Use grass sparingly.  We do like to have some grass in our yard as it serves as a nice open playspace for our toddler, but we never use pesticides, we rarely water it (which, depending on your climate, may or may not be appropriate for you), and we mow it with a push mower.  Instead, plant gardens with native flowers and food you can eat.  When planning out your lawn, look into the different types of grass to see which is appropriate for you.

- Look for used backyard supplies.  You can often find great patio sets used (i.e. craigslist and Freecycle) and many of our backyard toys came from my favorite consignment shop: Kid to Kid.   Want something new?  Look for patio furniture made of eco-friendly materials.  

- If you have a kiddie pool, use that water to water your lawn after they're done splashing around.  

- Reduce water consumption in your backyard and garden.

- Avoid bugs naturally when sitting outside.  You can repel mosquitoes safely, such as using garlic, basil, citronella, and more.  As for bug sprays, give Herbal Armour a whirl.  It's more effective than you may think.

- Hang a clothesline or getting some drying racks.  While you're spending time in the backyard, you might as well hang up your laundry to dry.  

- If it's time to redo your patio, look into eco-friendly options.  This Guardian article has lots of green ideas in the comments, such as using salvaged materials to put together a patio.

- Green your barbecue.  Solar-powered ovens and stoves are the greenest, but not necessarily the easiest choice for everyone.   Gas and electric-powered grills are greener than charcoal.  However, if you already have a charcoal grill, opt for lump coal instead of briquettes.  

- Keep that compost heap going!  

- Get creative and reuse things!  Our old charcoal barbecue didn't serve much of a purpose...so now it's a planter!  We also bought a few bushes in the spring, and we're reusing the plastic pots they came in to plant lettuce, cabbage, and kale.  

Enjoy the summer and your backyard!