Friday, November 18, 2011

The Eco Friendly Patio

If you love nature and embrace a green lifestyle, chances are you also love spending time outdoors. The outdoor patio space is quickly becoming the primary "living room" for many green families. More and more of our clients are asking us how they can enhance their outdoor living space in a responsible, eco-friendly manner. Thanks to buying online, green living is easier and more affordable than ever. Here are a few easy tips for making your outdoor space a comfortable, eco-friendly retreat.

Build with the right materials

While concrete slabs are still, perhaps, the cheapest material for creating an outdoor patio space, concrete has a significant carbon footprint due to the manufacturing process. Some better options would be recycled or salvaged materials, bricks, hempcrete (a hemp based concrete alternative) or natural stone slabs. Poor drainage is the arch enemy of a healthy patio space. Be sure to space pavers or stone out so that water can drain, thus lengthening your patio material's life.

Choose the right patio furniture and d├ęcor pieces

Look for furniture made with natural materials that can withstand the elements – especially moisture. Teak, eucalyptus or recycled wine barrels are all popular and attractive choices. If you do choose wood furniture, be sure to purchase from patio furniture manufacturers that employ responsible forest management when harvesting timber. Other eco-friendly furniture options include recycled wicker and plastic furniture. Accent the space with recycled fabric pillows and an all-weather rug made from recycled plastic bottles – which are surprisingly beautiful and affordable. Gather the seating around a copper outdoor patio fire pit or rustic chiminea and stock your patio with high efficiency firelogs that burn clean, with fewer carbon emissions.

Protect your investment

The elements are not only hard on your patio, but they will also weather and age your patio furniture. Invest in quality patio furniture covers that will protect your furniture for the long-haul and keep them from the landfill. Look for garden furniture covers that fit snugly around the piece so that water does not seep through and puddle in crevices. There are specially crafted covers for all types of patio items, from BBQ covers to outdoor patio table and chair covers in a myriad of sizes.

Select energy efficient accents

If you want to use your outdoor patio space year round in an eco-friendly manner, it is important that you also invest in an eco-friendly patio heater or heating system. Solaira heaters are especially popular heaters that utilize cutting edge LED technologies to provide highly efficient heat. Solaria heaters utilize 92% of the available energy, making them a cost effective and eco-friendly alternative to propane and natural gas heating systems.

About the Author: Derrick Riley is a Managing Partner at Patio Products USA, an online commercial and residential patio products store. Patio Products USA is one North America’s largest distributors of patio furniture and BBQ covers, patio fire pits and gas, electric and propane patio heaters.

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