2011-04-21 / Features

Extend Your Home’s Living Spaces Outdoors

As the weather warms, Americans spend more time in their backyards and gardens, taking advantage of their outdoor living and dining space.

Recent decorating trends are helping homeowners create inviting outdoor spaces. It’s no longer about simple picnic tables on patios or decks. There now are many new ways to create welcoming ambience.

More homeowners are using innovative products for the backyard and garden made with recycled materials – a small way to make a big difference. For example, recycled plastics are being used in functional yet stylish decking, vertical gardens, flower pots, bird houses, furniture and more, diverting this valuable material from landfills.

“Consumers have many options today to create beautiful backyards and other home spaces with recycled products,” says Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. “For instance, recycled plastics can be used to create all sorts of functional and fashionable products, from modern lawn chairs to chic accessories to long lasting fences.”

Here are some great tweaks for your outdoor spaces this season:

Divine Decking: To create decks, gazebos and oth- er outdoor structures, many builders are now using composite lumber, some of which is made with recycled plastic shopping bags. These composites are typically stain- and water-resistant and don’t attract those pesky backyard bugs that enjoy wood.

Light It Up: When entertaining outdoors at night, the right lighting adds ambience while illuminating pathways for safety. You can up-light trees for dramatic effect. Energy-efficient solar lighting is a great choice, as you avoid dealing with cords in or under your yard and save electricity in the process.

Feel- Good Furniture: Homeowners nowadays can lounge on brightly colored chairs and benches and dine on stylish tables made with recycled plastics and other innovative materials. Green minded consumers can choose furniture made from post-consumer containers, such as plastic milk jugs, detergent containers and margarine tubs. And best of all, you’ll save time and money by not having to stain or weatherproof this second generation furniture.

Grow-Up: Short on space in your yard? Vertical gardens are a conservationist’s dream, allowing plant lovers to create hanging gardens in even the smallest corners, indoors and out. Vertical gardens often are made with recycled plastics, and can create a flower or vegetable source on just about any type of wall. They help turn even the smallest studio apartment or backyard deck into a green oasis.

For more tips on how you can help “close the recycling loop” by using recycled products to create a greener sanctuary for your home and garden, visit www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com.

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