5 renewable energy landscaping ideas

5 renewable energy landscaping ideas

We are all becoming increasingly aware of the need to reduce our energy consumption both on an individual and a global level. Most of us routinely recycle our kitchen and domestic waste as a matter of course, use low energy light bulbs and endeavor to cut down on our general consumption of ‘stuff’ in order to save money in these straightened times as well as helping the environment. But what happens when we step outside our back door? Do we carry our eco-credentials with us when it comes to the back garden and our outside spaces – or not?

By rethinking the way you use your green areas and making a few changes to the products you use, it is possible to make a big difference to the way you are impacting on the environment, as well as keeping the bank manager happy by saving yourself money.

1. Shining a Light on Solar Power

Whether for security purposes or simply for aesthetics, most of us use some sort of lighting in our outdoor spaces. By switching to solar powered lights, you will save on the consumption of fossil fuels and cut your utility bills.

A full range of stylish solar panel lamps are now readily available : wall mounted security lamps, integrated spotlights for edging the decking, multi-colored structural pillars to ‘funk up’ the borders and delicate fairy lights for enhancing trees and shrubbery. Post Lights (from $50.00 for 2) are ideal for edging pathways and steps or highlighting borders and shrubbery. Powered by monocrystalline solar cells, the lights will run for 10 hours when fully charged and have an automatic system which will switch them on at dusk and off at dawn. The super-white LED bulbs also emit a light which is twice the brilliance of many of its competitors on the market.

2. Going with the Flow

Another great eco-friendly (and wallet friendly) tip is to use a solar powered pump for your water feature. There are now many great options on the market which use renewable solar energy, are easy to install and aesthetically pleasing, whilst requiring the minimum of exterior wiring and plumbing.

The Everjet Solar Fountain (from $50.00) will run continuously in direct sunlight and has integrated rechargeable AA batteries which can provide an additional 7 hours of flow in overcast conditions. It comes complete with 4 different fountain tips to allow the pump to sit securely on the surface of the water whilst enabling the householder to ring the changes and vary the ambiance.

3. Jumping in at the Deep End

For those lucky enough to have a swimming pool in their backyard, the overheads involved in keeping it heated whether through oil, gas or electricity can be considerable – both to the household budget and to the environment.

The ideal temperature for an outdoor heated pool is 75 degrees. 25 degrees is considered too cold and anything above 85 degrees will encourage the growth of harmful bacteria and algae. Achieving and maintaining that level will use a lot of energy, negatively impacting on the immediate and wider community. Changing to a solar powered pool heating system offers the opportunity to significantly reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and make an effective positive change to the carbon footprint of the household.

The Eco Experts (www.theecoexperts.co.uk) provide advice on acquiring the best solar panels suitable for any installation. Solar panels are generally supplied with a 10 year guarantee and typically last up to 40 years. The panels can be roof or poolside mounted to best suit the location. Operated through an indirect heat exchange system, the solar system can achieve a payback time of as little as 18 months, dependent on the size and location of the pool.

4. Covering all Eventualities

Many pool owners who use solar power think that they have done their bit for the planet. With a little added thought, they can do so much more!

Using a swimming pool cover will save water, energy, use of chemicals and significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the pool. The statistics make impressive reading. Water evaporation can be reduced by 98%, pool temperature increased by 8 degrees, the use of chemicals reduced by up to 30% and the amount of energy consumed reduced by over 50%. The only question has to be why wouldn’t you?

An effective pool cover from a reputable manufacturer can pay for itself within a year. The covers are made to measure to ensure optimum affectivity and costs start from $10.00 per square yard.

5. Back to Basics

For those eco warriors who really want to make a difference to their outside space, what about getting rid of your lawn and creating a self-sufficient veggie patch or a wildflower border to attract insects and wildlife? Sounds like a long and tiring job? It doesn’t have to be. The secret is to use newspaper to kill your grass in 3 easy steps!

Step 1 – Mow the lawn. It’s the last time you will have to do it and it helps the newspaper to lay flat.

Step 2 – Lay the paper in thick layers (about 10 sheets deep) making sure you overlap in all directions.

Step 3 – Spread a 5 – 6′ layer of mulch over the top to compress the paper. Water it lightly to pack it down well.

All you have to do now is wait for several months and plan what you are going to do with your new outdoor eco space! The newspapers will biodegrade with the mulch and break down adding nutrients to the soil. Don’t panic – newspapers are almost 100% printed with soya based ink so it is totally safe and organic!

About the Author : Poppy Image wants to reduce carbon emissions to save our planet. She enjoys writing about tips and tricks to improve energy efficiency in the home for www.greendeal.co.uk .


  1. one
    Comment by Leo@CPA Salary: Aug 22, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    I’ll have to vote the solar powered lamps as my favorites. Not only are they good for the environment, but they avoid the sometimes complex wiring needed when putting in lights powered from your home electricity.

  2. two
    Comment by Alex @ NCS Survey: Sep 1, 2012 at 5:36 AM

    Solar-powered lamps or lighting is a great idea. In this very simple way, we could save on energy consumption and help save the environment at the same time.

  3. three
    Comment by Bea@Team Energy: Sep 19, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    I agree. Doing little things to conserve energy is already a big deed to save the environment. Kids should also become aware.

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