Relaxing outdoors on your cedar or composite deck and enjoying the greenery of your backyard helps you connect with nature. In honor of Earth Day 2010 this week, you can make that connection even more meaningful by thoughtfully choosing deck furniture that’s healthy for the environment.
Eco-friendly deck furniture has blossomed into an entire market, with chairs and tables made from sustainably produced, recycled or salvaged materials. If you’re looking for something new, options range from FSC-certified wood furniture purchased from large retailers such as Pottery Barn to one-of-a-kind pieces crafted by local artisans from reclaimed materials. Or you can do the salvaging yourself, in which case your imagination–rather than your budget–is the limit.
Look for sustainably harvested wood. Wood, provided it hasn’t been chemically treated or destructively harvested, is still one of the most natural materials for furniture. Eucaplyptus and teak are especially popular in green deck furniture right now. Look for the FSC-certified label to show it’s been harvested responsibly–you’ll probably pay a premium for it.
If you want plastic, go for recycled. Plastic is durable, easy to clean and impervious to rain. If you go this route, choose furniture made from recycled plastic and stay away from anything containing PVC, which is made using nasty chemicals.
Salvage mismatched pieces. You’re helping the environment anytime you avoid using up new resources and rescue a piece of furniture from a landfill. Shop garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets, Craigslist and Freecycle.com for eye-catching pieces that reflect your taste. Nothing says eco-friendly like an eclectic collection of well-worn salvaged chairs.
Sit on hemp cushions. Hemp naturally repels water, resists mildew and is a much healthier alternative to most “water-repellent” fabrics used in outdoor furniture. For extra decadence, try lounging in a hemp hammock.
If you don’t have a deck yet and are thinking about getting one, check out Rick’s great deals on cedar and composite decking.