Eco-Friendly Gardening Tips for Any Season

| 10/4/2014 4:38:00 PM

Upcycled Furniture For The Garden

When summer rolls around and gardens start to bloom, suburbanites flock to their local big-box stores to update their storage buildings and garden furniture. There’s a staggering amount of choice, from outdoor storage sheds styled like barns to patio heaters that kick out more CO2 than the average small car.

When they splash the cash, however, homeowners rarely pause to consider the long-term environmental impact of their new alfresco investment. In North America, sheds and storage buildings made from synthetic resin dominate the market. Thanks to their fossil fuel-makeup, they retain their old-world cottage charm for decades. Unfortunately, these sheds are non-biodegradable and can only be destroyed through controlled incineration to minimise release of toxic gases.

The wooden alternatives are barely any safer. Fences, benches and sheds are maintained with paints, preservatives and sealants containing creosote, arsenic, pentachlorophenol and lead – to name but a few. Most adults will be familiar with the short-term health effects of such preservatives, including skin burns and seared airways. However, many are unaware of the long-term risks posed by their carcinogenic compounds. When rain causes them to leach into the surrounding soil and groundwater, they present a risk to all who relax in or eat from the garden.

There’s good news for the environmentally conscious, however: There are much safer (and cheaper!) ways to keep up with the Joneses. Read on to discover the upcycles and simple swaps that’ll leave both your garden and conscience clean.

Eco-Friendly Gardening Tips

Use natural sealants. There are a host of environmentally safe alternatives to conventional paints and wood sealants. To add a splash of color, opt for milk paint – an organic and non-toxic alternative to regular paint that comes in a wide variety of colors. Choose a version designed for exterior use, apply a couple of coats and allow a few weeks’ drying time (it’s best to paint during a summer dry spell).

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