Including Fine Furniture Without Felling Forests

Gardens are places for lingering, and it's difficult to linger unless you have a comfortable place to sit or lie down. So you'll probably want to include some furniture in your landscape.

Furniture Rule Number One is this: You aren't going to buy yard furniture made from rainforest woods, built by cowering slave children, and shipped halfway around the world in exhaust-belching cargo ships. You're simply not going to go there. Fortunately, you don't have to; the good green people of the world have come up with many guilt-free alternatives. Here are some of them:

✓ Make your own furniture from stuff you already have. Suppose you have to take down a tree for some reason. Don't send it to the chipper if you can use the wood to make a bench or other furnishings. If milling logs is a little beyond your talents, think about growing your own bamboo or saving trimmings from your fruit trees.

As an alternative, construct built-in furniture from local stone or fashion furniture from cob, which is basically just soil slapped into the form of a bench and coated with a natural mixture of cooked white flour, soil, and straw. Adobe blocks and rammed earth can be made from soil that's on your site. For more information, see the nearby sidebar "An earth-building primer."

  • Buy used furniture. Find a bench or chairs with character at a garage sale, antique store, or thrift store. Enjoy their funky patina, or restore them with a couple coats of nontoxic paint.
  • Use ultra-low-impact materials. Straw bales, wood from urban trees, and salvaged or reclaimed lumber are all commonly available, sometimes with a little sleuthing. Stack up some straw bales and cover them with earthen plaster for a great outdoor sofa. Create nearly any style of furniture from salvaged wood. Look for furniture made from these materials by local craftsmen. (Supporting local businesses is part of the sustainable way.)
  • Purchase commercially available green furniture. Many manufacturers now offer well-designed, carefully built sustainable garden furniture of all kinds — and at reasonable prices. Spend a little time on the Internet to uncover all sorts of possibilities.
Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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