Eco-Friendly Ways to Update Your Outdoor Space This Spring

Reader Contribution by Ronique Gibson

Now that the warmer months are on their way, your outdoor space is about to be the center of attention. Entertaining family and friends on your patio is one of the season’s greatest pleasures, and your eco-friendly lifestyle should be reflected in your outdoor spaces. Whether you’re trying to find ways to update your outdated furniture or you’re just looking to add color and texture, here are a few ways to stay Earth-friendly while giving your patio a makeover.

Embrace natural fibers in vibrant shades.

One of the easiest and most versatile ways to bring color to your outdoor garden furniture is by swapping out old cushions for new ones. Skip the synthetic fabrics and reach for organic cotton and durable hemp; both are naturally grown without the use of harsh chemicals and dyes. You can also find cushions that are filled with organically grown soy, corn, or cotton for a natural alternative to synthetic fiber-filled cushions. Try to keep your cushions out of the harsh sun and rainy weather to extend their life and to prevent colors from fading. Many outdoor furniture manufacturers offer eco-friendly cushions with natural dyes made from fruit and vegetable extracts to bring vibrant colors to your space.

Keep it clean.

Once you’ve added color to your outdoor spaces with accessories, don’t forget to clean them regularly. There are many natural cleaning products on the market, but you can also use ingredients found in your home. For a simple solution, use one gallon of water with a quarter cup of mild dish detergent and a half cup of distilled white vinegar in a pail. With a bristle brush, scrub the surface of your cushions and then hose off dirt and grime and let air dry. This nontoxic technique can also be used on your patio furniture.

Bring color and texture to your patio with area rugs.

Is there anything more relaxing than kicking your shoes off and enjoying fresh fibers underfoot while enjoying nature? Choosing outdoor rugs made with natural fibers will ensure they stay mold- and mildew-resistant as well as looking fresh for seasons to come. Similar to garden furniture cushions, natural outdoor rugs will last longer if kept out of direct sun and under covered porch areas. If your porch is uncovered, consider storing the rug inside a garage or covered area when not entertaining. When deciding on materials, try jute, seagrass and bamboo if you’d like rich textural materials. For a softer material underfoot, look for all-weather yarns derived from cotton, corn, soy, and natural grasses.

Homeowners who enjoy the look of grass but want to skip the upkeep can look to recycled plastic outdoor rugs that are good for high-traffic patios or in decorative areas where greenery is desired. You can also find outdoor rugs made from recycled rubber, plastic, and even wood chips!

This spring, take advantage of the warmer air and the gorgeous blooms outside on your patio with these eco-friendly tips. Even if you decide to just spend the day relaxing in the spring sun by yourself, you can feel good about being kind to the Earth — and your backyard.

Photos by Getty Images

Ronique Gibson is a LEED AP certified architect and home design expert who writes on sustainability topics for, including eco-friendly treatment of outdoor pillows and cushions such as the ones found here.

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