The Most Eco-Friendly Building Supplies You Can Choose for Outdoor Projects

When planning an outdoor project, you may be considering some eco-friendly building supplies. These would be the materials that are least disruptive to the environment when harvested and which can be easily recycled if you ever need to replace them. Making a responsible decision about the materials you use for a patio, garden edging, retaining wall, and any outdoor feature will ensure that your entire home is as eco-friendly as possible. Before you talk to a contractor about your plans for an outdoor project, note a few suggestions for the most eco-friendly building and landscaping supplies you might consider.

1. For lumber

You may need lumber for a retaining wall, to build a pergola, or as decking. Be sure you choose the wood wisely so you don't contribute to deforestation. Bamboo grows very quickly so it's easy to replenish after harvesting. This material is very strong and durable yet flexible, so it can be used indoors and out for a wide variety of products. You can also easily find bamboo patio furniture to match the wood of your deck if you choose bamboo.

If you do want to use another type of wood for your project, avoid what is called 'old growth timber', which are products grown from trees in forests that have been untouched for years. Check the supplier and only purchase wood from what are called 'managed forests'. These are forests created specifically to grow trees for use in home building, for making paper, and so on.

2. Steel and sheet metal

Harvesting the iron ore and putting it through the smelting process to make steel requires quite a bit of energy, so you may not think it's the most eco-friendly product you can find. However, steel is very easy to recycle and, since it's so durable, it can be used repeatedly without compromising its integrity. Look for recycled steel for a metal fence or for a roof to your patio area. You can even find shed kits made with recycled steel or sheet metal; these will be very durable with years of life left in them.

3. Concrete

Concrete is very easy to make from materials that are abundant, including gravel and sand. Poured concrete surfaces for a patio or walkway can be painted or stained to look like almost any type of stone, and concrete is much friendlier to the environment than actual harvested stone. Harvesting granite and slate often means blasting and the consumption of large amounts of water, so opt for concrete surfaces instead. Try stamped or stained concrete as a patio floor or walkway outside, or use concrete bricks as a retaining wall for your garden or landscaping feature.