Last week, we revealed two current eco-friendly garden trends—microgreens and raised garden beds. As promised, here are two more trends worth checking out should you wish to go green while saving some green this spring.
An ‘environmentally-friendly’ water feature sounds like an oxymoron because one could easily assume using water for aesthetic appeal is wasteful, however water features can enhance and complement the environment. An eco-friendly water feature is self-sustaining and requires minimal maintenance. While one must initially fill the feature with a lot of water, the fountain or waterfall feature itself requires much less water than would the grass it replaced had it not been installed. Homeowners can incorporate a variety of fish and aquatic plants without investing time and money into becoming a knowledge expert. Lastly, water features are an ideal way to enhance the local ecosystem as birds, butterflies, frogs and more species than one could possibly imagine are attracted to them.
Burning Demand for Fire Pits
Backyard fire pits conjure memories of all kinds—from childhood campfires to the romantic days of falling in love. Some cities have banned wood-burning fire pits because they pollute the air. Fortunately, daring designers have turned to a variety of alternatives such as new natural gas, bioethanol and wood alternatives so homeowners can fuel the fire without feeling guilty.
If you are building a new construction home, it is beneficial to decide if you want to incorporate a fire pit into backyard before the landscape is designed, deck built; etc. Options include:
Natural Gas– Should you opt for a natural gas fire pit, it is easier to run the necessary gas line while the ground is clear of concrete or gas. The pit will have to remain stationary because of gas if piped in through the gas line.
Topping Materials– Many manufacturers offer a variety of eco-friendly materials such as eco-glass which is made from post-industrial glass that is melted and dyed brilliant colors. Other varieties include lava rock and treated river stones. All options offer a trendy, sleek look for a truly contemporary feeling.
Bioethanol– Clean-burning ethanol can be used with gas or wood logs.
Log Alternatives– Logs are now made of many renewable resources that when burned release up to 80% fewer emissions than regular wood. The result is a win-win—lower levels of carbon monoxide are released in the air and less creosote build-up on the fire pit walls. Log alternatives include non-petroleum wax, recycled sawdust and soy.
Article by: Jennifer Elkow
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