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April 17, 2014  |  Login
Eco Ideas for Sheds, Outdoor Furniture and Lighting, and other Outdoor Accessories
By Eric Corey Freed
Such accessories as outdoor furniture, pots and planters, and lighting will put the finishing touches on your yard. You can find green alternatives for nearly everything you need.

You need a place for your tools and garden equipment, and a nice garden shed can be an attractive addition to your yard. Store-bought shed kits are simple to build, but they’re usually made of the cheapest and least environmentally friendly materials.

You can construct your own small, uninsulated shed using salvaged materials. Also, consider these options:

Used sheds: Your local classified ads may have the perfect shed.

FSC-certified wood: If you’re building a new shed, use FSC-certified wood.

In most places, accessory buildings less than 100 or 150 square feet in size don’t even need a permit. Of course, as always, be sure to check with your local building department to be sure.


Lawn and patio furniture comes in a variety of types. For wood furniture, choose naturally rot-resistant woods like ipe and cypress, or FSC-certified wood. Avoid tropical rain forest hardwoods such as teak.

Plastic furniture is typically made of harmful PVC. Skip the PVC and look for high-content recycled plastic.

Extend the life of your furniture by storing it in the garage for the winter.

Pots and Planters    

Add a dash of color and flexibility with a variety of planters around the deck and patio. Recycled-content pots are readily available at most garden stores.

If you choose the right plants, you won’t need to water as often. Clay and terra-cotta pots hold in the water and help the plants survive the hot days.


Accent lighting can add safety and drama to your yard. But too much lighting is a waste of energy, so include just enough so guests can safely find their way around.

Pointing lights upward can create light pollution, which disrupts your neighbors and reduces your ability to see the stars. Avoid light fixtures that shine upward.

Tip: Although low-voltage lighting uses only a small amount of energy, you still need to run wires to make them work.

Instead, purchase solar-powered landscape lights. They store power all day from a small solar panel and light up at night. They aren’t very bright, however, so use more of them to safely light walkways.

Use motion sensors to operate lights only when you do need them



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