Eco-friendly outdoor spaces

A green approach to managing your garden, lawn and patio

We all want cleaner air, lower carbon emissions, less noise and healthier people but what can we do as home owners to improve our tiny corner of the world? Tom’s Outdoor Living provided a list of eco-friendly ideas that can be used to make your space a little greener.


Using battery operated equipment reduces noise levels, has low carbon and other pollution footprints and no fumes. Opt for 100 percent renewable power. Buy equipment that uses the same battery size for the leaf blower and various trimmers and a larger battery for the lawn mower. Recharge batteries as needed.


Use eco-friendly chemicals and fertilizers. Tom’s says “When home owners request an eco/organic approach to weeds and insects, we have a few options for them.”

1. For weeds use “Avenger” weed killer which is made from citrus oil and oranges

2. For Insects use “EcoVia” which is made from thyme oil and rosemary oil. You can also use “Essentria IC3” which is made from rosemary oil and peppermint oil

3. For fertilizer, Tom’s always uses “Earthmax” which is organic matter turned into a liquid to help improve the soil and “Milorganite” when customers request organic fertilizer


Drip irrigation feeds water directly to the plant’s roots saving water. Traditional irrigation sprays water in the air so a portion is carried away by the wind and water is distributed to areas where it’s not needed. Use a smart controller that links to your home Wi-Fi staying up to date with weather information and it helps adjust irrigation times.

Lighting and Warmth

Use LED bulbs. They are energy efficient therefore reducing the energy bill, reducing the demand from power plants and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. They do not contain toxic elements which helps protect the environment from further toxic waste. They have better quality light distribution so fewer lights are needed which reduces energy consumption and LED’s have a longer life span which means lower carbon emissions.

Use energy efficient outdoor heaters.

Retaining Walls

Gabion natural stone walls reduce the use of formed concrete.

Mulch & Compost

Mulch grass and leaf clippings to use as a natural fertilizer on the lawn. When done correctly mulching returns nitrogen, potassium and phosphor into the ground and provides up to 25 percent of the total nutrients needed for a year. It saves time, labor and money because there is less raking, use of less fertilizer and less trash. If you don’t mulch the leaves, they can be composted.

Reclaim. Reuse. Repurpose

Use recycled aggregate (crushed cement, concrete or asphalt from construction debris) for concrete and other applications. This protects natural resources and eliminates the need for disposal.

Use composite decking boards made with recycled wood and plastic.

Use reclaimed natural stone and wood.

Sustainable Design

A quality design integrates storm water management, native plant material and local building materials whenever possible.

Tree Placement

Trees can be placed to block the summer sun and cold winter winds saving on energy costs.

For eco-friendly ideas or a sustainable design, visit TomsOutdoorLiving.com or call 918.695.1653.

About the author: Brandon Zinter is the fertilization division leader at Tom’s Outdoor Living.

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