DIY Guide to Building an Eco-Friendly Outdoor Living Space

An outdoor space should be a calm and relaxing space for every living being that might share it. An eco-friendly living space marries the joy of a natural living space with beneficial environmental practices. You don’t have to sacrifice anything to enjoy a functional, relaxing, sustainable, and environmentally friendly yard. There are some eco-friendly tips and techniques that are perfect for any outdoor space and purpose.

A serene garden with a wooden pergola and outdoor seating, featuring mint green cushions. The space includes a stone fire pit surrounded by lush greenery and well-maintained landscaping.
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Plan Your Outdoor Space

Before building your perfect outdoor oasis, you’ll need to determine how you’ll use the area. Gardens can have a variety of functions, from relaxation to putting food on the table. You can also create a themed outdoor space, such as an Asian-inspired Zen garden or a European-style rose garden. You can host a wide variety of animals in your outdoor space, such as farm animals, your dog, or natural wildlife. The imagination is your limit when it comes to outdoor spaces.

The Poetic Beauty of Mostly Monochromatic Garden at

Plants and Gardens

A sustainable and eco-friendly plant and garden space utilizes native plants. Native plants can thrive and flourish best in the climate conditions of their natural area. They can also be beneficial to the ecosystem as a whole and other wildlife in the area. Additionally, plants that aren’t native to the environment can be threatening or invasive to other plants or animals in the area. Edible gardens are great for providing free herbs, fruits, or vegetables to your kitchen table.

Flowerbeds and Planters

You can create beautiful flowerbeds and planters using recycled or upcycled materials and items. Oil drums, used shoes, and old tires can be painted and transformed into beautiful planters. Glass bottles can be repurposed into a picturesque flowerbed edge or border. Plastic bottles can create miniature greenhouses, watering cans, or hanging plants. You can repurpose old shelving, gutters, or other materials into vertical shelving, which adds a clean, modern look to any garden.

Water Features and Collection

A charming tiered stone fountain in a garden setting, surrounded by greenery and flowering plants. The cascading water adds a soothing element to the outdoor space.

Water features can add a sense of serenity to any outdoor space. You can collect rainwater for this feature if it is legal in your area to conserve water; collecting rainwater is also great for watering plants! Natural water features can utilize hollow trees such as bamboo for a functional and beautiful option.

Eco-Friendly Paths

A pathway made of rectangular stone slabs laid out on a bed of smooth, multicolored pebbles in various shades of gray.

If you want your outdoor space to have pathways or stepping stones, you can repurpose broken concrete slabs or stones to create some stepping stones or pathways. If you desire a more natural look, mulch or wood chips are environmentally friendly path options for local flora and fauna, especially if you create your own from fallen branches or old wood.

Natural Fertilizer and Pest Control

Composting organic waste such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and filters, and manure may seem a little gross, but it’s great for feeding flowers and doesn’t cost anything extra! Furthermore, if your garden needs some natural pest control, resources like food grade Diatomaceous Earth, onions, citronella, or even white vinegar can affect pests in the area. Remember, bugs can benefit plants and animals but can also be detrimental, so use pest control wisely.

Garden Décor

You can use recycled materials like tin or soda cans, glass pieces, and more to create beautiful or fun garden décor like wind chimes or glass motifs to fit any outdoor theme or look. If you’re not a craft person, you can always buy handmade or secondhand garden décor with these materials.

Animal Oasis

If you’d like your outdoor space to host animals, there are plenty of great, natural ways to do this. You can house chickens or larger farm animals like goats, cows, or horses to give yourself some natural resources like eggs. You can create a pole barn building, chicken coop, or animal shelter with recycled wood or other natural materials. If you’d prefer a more hands-off approach to animals, you can welcome natural wildlife in your garden with birdhouses and tree varieties for birds and squirrels; pollen or flowering plants will attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. A deer or two may visit from time to time as well.


An inviting outdoor lounge area with a yellow couch adorned with striped and solid-colored pillows. The space is decorated with hanging white paper lanterns, and a dining table set is visible in the background.

You can add any type of garden lighting to fit any theme, mood, or brightness level using solar-powered lighting. There are even solar-powered string lights to hang off of a patio or pergola. Solar-powered lights don’t add to your energy bill as a bonus. A fire pit can also provide some controlled bonfires as well, which is great for colder months.

Relaxation Spaces

An outdoor space isn’t much without a place to relax. Try creating outdoor seating from old furniture or recycled materials to save money and resources. You can even use wooden logs or tree stumps as a natural seat! It’s smart to use shade from trees as a natural sunblock wherever you need it.


Any outdoor space can benefit and flourish from eco-friendly practices. Whether you’re a tree-hugger or just want to save money on energy consumption, these practices will benefit the environment, your wallet, and your peace of mind. If you want to host animals, create a peaceful Zen garden, or just a place to sit and feel the sun, sustainable outdoor spaces are the way to go.

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