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Designing an Outdoor Oasis: Sustainable Ideas and Inspiration

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Countless backyards are wasted every year, slowly becoming a source of frustration since the most use they get is getting mowed or as a playground for dogs. We need time outside and away from screens, and as many people are moving towards quality-conscious and sustainability, they realize they need to get purposeful use out of the property they have.

These are the top design ideas to keep in mind when you’re ready to build the sustainable oasis of your dreams.

Why Sustainability Matters

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Sustainability is a big deal because it affects everything from how long your property will last to its impact on the environment and even the property's value if you decide to sell. Sustainability also comes with a social impact that can change how you're viewed in your community.

What it boils down to is your relationship with the environment around you and what you can do to cause the least damage while buying and building things that will last and get as much use as possible. Whether you have future generations or your bottom line in mind: it's an important investment to make.

1. For Entertaining

Entertaining is one of the top reasons people push to update their backyard. We all want a space where we can invite friends and family, build a space for talking, sharing meals, and making memories, an approachable space.

When building a sustainable entertaining space, remember to create built-in shade to protect from the sunlight without having to put in a fan, and use furniture that's comfortable yet upcycled or made sustainably.

2. To Increase Longevity

The most important thing to consider when building your sustainable oasis is how long it will last. Wood is often treated as the king of sustainable materials, but if you don't take the time to seal and treat it: your sustainable porch could crumble within a couple of years.

While designing your gorgeous backyard, remember to keep track of what maintenance, updates, and work every portion of the yard is going to take. Although creating paradise isn't free, you can make it affordable and last longer if you put in the work.

3. Pulling Moisture away

Moisture is what keeps us alive, but it's also the most destructive force on this planet. Before you put in a pagoda, furniture, or even hardscaping, it's vital that you stop and look at how water acts in your backyard. Does this space turn into a swamp the moment it rains? Do you struggle to keep water from gathering where it shouldn't?

Installing clear routes for the water to go through and landscape drainage grate to stop these trenches from getting clogged is a lifesaver. This will pull all moisture down and away and will save your sustainable property.

4. Where to Source Your Materials

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Whether you’re buying permeable pavers or art, you must be knowledgeable about where you're sourcing it from. Not only should the company be sustainable if that's what you're aiming for: they should be open and honest about where they source and create their items. Whether you work with a designer to pull this space together or you go directly to manufacturers, do your research along the way.

5. What’s Trending Right Now?

In 2023 the plain green lawn is out, and design and intentional decor are on the rise. From using local native species of plants to investing in more shrubs and ground-covering plants instead of grass, there are a lot of shifts people didn't see coming.

Wellness Oasis yards have been huge, creating relaxing environments by boosting simple color palettes, increasing the number of plants, and focusing on simple yet well-designed decor in natural tones.

6. To Protect Your Home

Your home should still be protected from the elements even as you work to create a property that melds as easily as possible with nature. Details like stone veneer siding will stop storms and weather from getting inside while still giving you a natural and sustainable looking home.

Every property is different, so remember to look at what the weather and needs are for your home before going forward with any changes.

Easily Made Sustainability Mistakes

Sustainability is an uphill battle that countless consumers have been fighting for centuries, but that doesn't mean every common mistake is commonly known. One of the biggest mistakes is assuming that everything green is good for the environment and sustainability.

For instance, many assume turf is a bad choice, but when you live in an area that requires you to water your grass constantly to keep it alive: artificial grass turns into the more eco-conscious option.

Many also assume that sustainable simply means more expensive and earthy-looking, but this can lead to paying more for a product that is green-washed merely to look sustainable. Doing a little research on large purchases can save you from this.

Every Property Can Be More Sustainable

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Sustainability doesn't have to be one huge overhaul! Instead, consider taking inspiration from this list, and creating a property you can be proud of on your own schedule.

Ryan Shure is a freelance writer and editor focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value. Ryan’s work can be found on Building Product Advisor, a new construction industry resource site.


If you want to improve your living space, think about using sustainable interior and landscape design ideas. These ideas can help you take care of the environment and make your living environment healthier and more mindful. Lima-Stanley Design has made a free guide to help you plan your budget for each room. This guide can help you achieve your sustainable design goals without spending too much money. Whether you want to change your living room, bedroom, backyard, or kitchen, this guide has helpful tips and insights to help you create the look and feel you want while staying within your budget. You can download the guide today to start your journey toward sustainable interior and landscape design.

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