From Backyard Havens to Campsite Adventures: Your Eco-Friendly Guide to Outdoor Living


Discover the joy of sustainable outdoor living! Whether it’s your own outdoor space, or shared green spaces, find tips to protect nature while enjoying it.

Estimated Read Time: 8 minutes

…And breathe. Sometimes all it takes is sipping your coffee in the sun or walking among the trees for everything to feel A-okay. As little as 20 minutes in nature can reduce stress, so it’s not surprising that 96% of adults in the US spend time outside each day.

The problem is, we often love our outdoor spaces a little too hard, putting stress on nature while it de-stresses us! For our own outdoor living spaces, it's tempting to plant an array of exotic-looking flowers that we might not realise harm native plants and species. For shared green spaces, crowds have an impact and litter is often left behind.

So whether you’re cozying up in your backyard haven or venturing on an outdoorsy adventure, we’ve got you covered with tips and tricks for sustainable outdoor living.

What Is Outdoor Living? 

The term ‘outdoor living’ usually refers to making the most of your personal outdoor space, setting it up for considerable amounts of time spent in the sun. This might be creating cozy nooks for relaxation, dining al fresco on your patio, or planting a lush garden oasis.

At ZeroWasteStore, however, we like to think of the term more broadly.

Not everyone has their own outdoor space, but everyone has access to an outdoor space they can use. There are ways to respect and protect shared green spaces so we can all do more outdoor living!

In this guide, we’ve split outdoor living into 3 categories:

  • Backyards: How to Build an Eco-Friendly Outdoor Living Space
  • Outdoor Living in the City: How to Use & Protect Shared Greenspaces
  • Hiking & Camping: How to Have an Eco-Conscious Outdoor Adventure

Let’s get to it!

Backyards: How to Build an Eco-Friendly Outdoor Living Space


Is there anything better than long afternoon naps swinging in a hammock or losing yourself in a book with a gentle breeze blowing? Whether you have a small balcony or patio, or an expansive backyard and garden, here are some ways to use your outdoor space in a way Mama Earth would be proud of.

1. Chose native plants

It might be tempting to fill your planters with an array of exotic-looking colors and smells, but are these plants native to your area? Choosing native plants helps attract bees, birds, and other types of local wildlife. 

2. Propagate your plants

Propagating plants allows you to grow new ones from existing ones, reducing the need to buy more. With this propagation plate, you can duplicate your cherished plants with a breeze. 

3. Start an herb garden

Herbs are the perfect low-maintenance plants you can grow outside or on your window sill. Try this Herb Jar and Self-Watering Planter Kit to get started!


4. Use natural plant care products

Avoid harsh chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides, and opt for organic solutions instead. For example, this Organic Plant Nutrient is an all-natural blend that provides your plants with the essential nutrients they need to grow. 

5. Be wise about water usage

Keep your plants happy and healthy by ensuring you’re not over or under-watering them. For a helping hand, the Oya™ Watering Pot allows your plants to sip precisely the amount of water they crave cutting down watering time by a whopping 70%. 

6. Harvest rainwater

If you want to go the extra mile, harvesting rainwater is a simple and sustainable way to hydrate your plants. You can use a fancy system attached to your gutters, or stick to household pails and buckets - either way, it’ll save on your water bill!


7. Be conscious of materials

If you’ve been thinking of purchasing outdoor furniture, explore sustainable materials like bamboo, recycled plastic, or FCS certified wood. The same goes for your planters! These RePots planters are crafted from 100% recycled maritime materials, like fishing nets, trawls, and ropes, designed to help reduce ocean and landfill waste. 

Start composting!

Composting is a great way to turn your organic scraps into a nourishing treatment for your soil, that’ll help your outdoor living space thrive. Not sure where to begin? 

Check out our composting guide

Shop our composting collection 

Outdoor Living in the City: How to Use & Protect Shared Greenspaces


Even if you live in a city-center apartment and nature seems far away, outdoor living is still possible! Research the shared green spaces in your area and follow these tips to make the most of them, while protecting them for future generations.

1. Waste-free picnics

There’s something magical about eating al fresco…but make sure you leave with memories, not waste! Swap out the plastic supermarket snacks and rustle up some tasty grub from fresh fruits and veggies to take to the nearest picnic spot. 

Here are some simple recipes to get you started: 


  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • Juice from 1 large lemon
  • ¼ cup of tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of water
  • Optional: cumin, paprika, parsley

Combine in a food processor until smooth and eat with veggie sticks!

Mason Jar Salad

Start with your favorite dressing at the bottom

Add sturdy veggies like cucumbers and carrots

Add a protein like grilled chicken or beans

Finish with leafy greens and seeds on top

Seal and shake when ready to eat!

No-Bake Bites

Combine rolled oats, nut butter, honey or maple syrup

Mix in chocolate chips, dried fruit, or nuts

Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls and chill in the fridge until firm

Don’t forget reusable containers to keep it zero waste!


Beeswax Food Wraps - Variety Packs


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Stainless Steel Straw

From $2.99

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Mason Jar Kit


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Bamboo Utensil Set


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2. Outdoor exercise

Explore local walking or biking trails for daily exercise and a chance to unwind amid nature's beauty tucked away in an urban landscape. Feeling more adventurous? Turn parks and green spaces into your outdoor gym for activities like jogging or calisthenics. 

3. Community events

Join in on community gatherings held at parks, like fairs, cultural festivals, or farmers' markets, to show your support for local businesses and artists while basking in the fresh air. 


4. Volunteer opportunities

Get involved in volunteer opportunities, like cleanups, to help protect outdoor spaces and connect with others who share them. 

5. Advocate for green initiatives

Be a voice for support for your city’s green spaces! Write to local officials, attend public meetings, and join campaigns to promote sustainable urban planning and conservation efforts.

Hiking & Camping: How to Have an Eco-Conscious Outdoor Adventure


Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash

Now you’ve had a taste of outdoor living at home, it’s time to dive deeper and embark on an outdoor adventure!

Off-grid, off the beaten track, and surrounded by natural beauty - nothing beats a hiking or camping trip. To enjoy Earth’s beauty spots to the fullest, we have to treat them right!

1. Stick to the 7 ‘Leave No Trace’ principles

These are the golden rules for enjoying the great outdoors: 

  • Plan and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of others

You can read more about each one here.

2. Pack zero-waste products so you leave no waste

Leaving no trace requires smart packing! Prepare energy-boosting snacks like trail mix and fruit in reusable containers, such as these:


Ceramic Reusable Bottle w/ Straw - 34oz


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Reusable Silicone Sandwich Bag


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And if you’re staying overnight, opt for zero-waste care products so you don’t risk carrying any empty bottles and packages along the way. 


Shampoo & Conditioner Bar Duo


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Toothpaste Tablets


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The Everything Stick - For Eyes, Lips, and Body


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3. Wear natural sunscreen

If you’re out on a coastal hike or strolling by a serene lakeside, you might be tempted to dive in for a refreshing splash.Before you cannonball into those crystal-clear waters, be mindful about your sunscreen. Some chemicals in sunscreen can be harmful to marine life and fish. We love this natural and reef safe option by Badger.


Embrace Outdoor Living, the Sustainable Way! 

Whatever outdoor living looks like for you, let's make sure it's as eco-friendly as possible!

If you're savouring the tranquility of your backyard oasis be mindful about native plants and water usage. If you’re making the most of your city’s greenspaces keep them as clean as possible for those who share them. And if embarking on a rugged camping escapade, tread lightly and leave no trace.

A life lived outside is the best kind in our books!

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