We are living in a great time, every year there are more products created that make it easier to live a greener, more eco-friendly life. And who doesn’t want to get in on that action? Let’s face it, the world needs some help, and we are in the position of knowledge now, we know what is good and what isn’t. From cleaning supplies to toothbrushes and shampoo bars, there are a million little ways that you can cut back and make changes that will have a positive impact on both you and the planet.
You don’t have to change your life completely to be able to make an impact either. Changing a single product in your routine will work, of course, the more, the merrier though!
The idea of eco-friendly products can seem like a bit of a minefield, but the truth is, they tend to be more simple in terms of ingredients and usage – once you are used to it of course. They have less of an impact on the planet, and in some cases, they even make significant contributions. Like the companies that plant trees, recycle and donate to green charities if you buy their goods. Going ‘green’ can be more economical too.
Hydrate and Reuse
Reusable water bottles. The chances are you aren’t drinking as much water as you should be anyway, but by getting a few reusable water bottles, and setting timers on your mobile phone, you’ll be hydrated and happy in no time. This cuts out the need to buy water bottles on the go too. Simple and effective. You can buy ones that are slightly more expensive that have reminders built in.
Ditch the fast – fashion market and opt for more eco-friendly alternatives. They might cost a little bit more in price but they will last for a considerable amount of time and not only that, there are some cutting edge fabrics and designers. Coconut leather anyone? You can also check out a lyocell material consists of cellulose fibre. Tencel is being seen more often in high street stores too. It is produced in a sustainable way and is very versatile.
There has recently been a bit of backlash over a well known fast food chain swapping from plastic to cardboard. But, wouldn’t it be better if you were to carry your own mental straws instead? They’re easy to clean, usually come in a range of colors and designs and the best part is you won’t ever need to use a single-use plastic straw with a paper wrapper again.
By putting your money where your mouth is, you are making an impact on the world around you, and there is no ‘too small’ in this case. Taking control of what you use, and how you use it matters a great deal. There is an eco-friendly alternative to almost anything, it simply takes a spot of research and knowledge about the difference it makes.
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Want to throw lots of parties in your backyard this summer? Making sure that your home’s outdoor space is well equipped for socialising could be important for ensuring that all your guests have a good time. Here are just a few ways in which you can transform your backyard into a party space.
Create a designated social area
If your backyard is just a lawn, you may want to consider adding a designated social area. Most people position this area right next to the house for easy access, but you may decide to locate it at the bottom of your backyard if this area gets the most amount of sunlight.
Creating a hard, dry, level surface for this social area could stop people’s feet from getting muddy and offer a stable surface to place furniture. The three main choices of surface tend to be gravel, patio and decking – each type of surface has its pros and cons.
Gravel tends to be the cheapest option and requires little maintenance – you may only have to rake it to keep it looking neat. It’s not always the most stable surface, but it will keep guests’ feet dry. Gravel may not be a good option with young kids – infants may try to put the stones in their mouth and it could hurt to fall on.
Patios tend to be the most favourable option. Laying a patio can be a little more expensive than laying down gravel and you may want to hire a professional to do it as it can require more precision. Patios require little upkeep – you can simply sweep them to keep them clean. Over time, they may start to get discoloured with dirt, in which case you may want to use a pressure washer to clean them.
Wooden decking is another popular option that you may want to consider. Decking can be easily elevated to keep it level, making it the most suitable option for sloped yards. It can be the most expensive option and the most time-consuming to build. That said, wooden decking is easy to clean and maintain – it may only need to be refinished every few years.
Invest in good quality outdoor furniture
Having good quality outdoor furniture is important when hosting backyard parties. There are many different materials that you can choose from, each of which has its advantages.
Wood tends to be a good weatherproof option, providing that it has been sealed. It can also be lightweight making it easy to carry. That said, you may want to protect wooden furniture in a storm to stop it getting carried away.
Metal outdoor furniture can be a little more resilient against winds. Cast iron generally won’t budge in a storm, however its heaviness means that it’d more difficult to manoeuvre around. Materials like cast iron are also prone to rust in the rain and may need to be regularly painted to keep them looking presentable. Aluminium could be a better option for offering something lightweight and waterproof.
Synthetic materials can also be good choices. You should avoid cheap plastic which is likely to flimsy and easily carried away by a strong wind. Instead, opt for premium synthetic materials. Such options may not be suitable for those that want to keep their backyard natural and eco-friendly.
Provide shelter from the elements
It can be worth having the option of shelter to hide under for when it starts raining or for when the sun is too intense. There are many different types of canopy that you can look into.
Umbrellas are the most basic form of shelter. These tend to sit in the middle of tables, although you can get large freestanding umbrellas. Umbrellas tends to be there purely to offer shade – in the rain they may not offer suitable enough shelter to keep your guests outdoors.
A gazebo or a marquee could be a better option for providing shelter against the rain. These are large fabric canopy structures that everyone can huddle under. Some people keep marquees up permanently in their backyard, whilst others use them as a temporary measure.
There’s then the more luxury option of an opening roof. This is a canopy fixed to the side of your house that can be opened or closed to provide shelter for when you need it. This can be the most effective form of shelter, but it’ll cost you the most. The most basic opening roofs are retractable fabric awnings that are pulled out manually, whilst more premium opening roofs can be operated via a button or even smart controlled.
Add some outdoor lighting
A good party is likely to continue long into the evening. For when the sun sets, you’ll need some form of outdoor lighting so that everyone can still see each other.
Candles are the most basic form of lighting and could help to create a soothing atmosphere perfect for when the party is winding down. You could even put these candles in lanterns to protect them from getting blown out by wind or rain.
Another affordable option could be solar lighting. Such lighting is powered by the sun, saving you the need to use batteries or trail cables out whilst also saving you money on energy bills. Solar lighting can come in all forms from fairy lighting to fixed wall lighting.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, you may want to get something that runs off the mains. There are spotlights and floodlights that can buy cable of lighting up a whole backyard. Just make sure that your lighting isn’t do bright that it annoys the neighbours!
Upgrade your barbecue
No backyard party is complete without a barbecue. Upgrading your barbecue could help you to cook more in less time, which could be useful for large gatherings.
The most basic barbecues are charcoal barbecues. Some people prefer these for the distinctive taste that they give to food. They do however take the longest to cook on. Buying a large grill could allow you to cook more at once, which could make this style of barbecuing more convenient.
Gas barbecues are easier to get going and you can adjust the heat more easily. They tend to be more expensive than charcoal barbecues and buying gas may work out more expensive than buying charcoal. That said, for many the convenience makes up for the cost.
Electric barbecues are some of the most expensive grills. These tend to run off the mains and don’t require any fire. Like gas barbecues, they can be convenient allowing you to easily adjust temperature.
Offer some outdoor heating
Having some outdoor heating could also be handy for when the temperature drops in the evening. There are many types of outdoor heating that you can try.
Fire pits are the most basic form of outdoor heating. This involves building a designated area for lighting a fire. Some neighbourhoods may have restrictions on fire pits and they could dangerous if you have kids.
Chimineas are another option. These act as portable outdoor fireplaces allowing you to position them in the best suited place. They may not offer as much warmth as a fire pit and they may still have some of the same safety concerns, although neighbourhoods are less likely to have restrictions on them.
Electric and gas patio heaters are another option to look into. These forms of heating don’t use an open flame making them safer and are usually fairly portable. They will however cost you more to buy and to use.
Take anti-pest measures
When throwing a party, you may also want to deter unwanted visitors such as bugs. There are many anti-pest measures that you can take to keep your backyard critter-free.
When it comes to warding off wasps, you could try using wasp traps – these can be made using empty bottles containing a sweet substance to lure in wasps and trap them. Hanging up a crumpled paper bag can also sometimes deter wasps by making them think that it is a rival nest.
As for mosquitoes, citronella candles are a popular way of warding off these critters. Mosquitoes may also be attracted to still water where they like to lay their eggs – if you’ve got a pond, adding a filter or a fountain to keep the water flowing could stop mosquitoes nesting there.
Ants could also ruin your party by getting at food. It could be a good idea to keep sugary foods wrapped up. Getting rid of any ants nests in your backyard could also help to solve the problem.
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