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Dawn Matthews  |  May 8, 2024

Sustainable Summer Ideas

10 Minute Read

In the UK, making the most of the summer means getting out there and dodging the showers, but doing so in a sustainable way means that you and your family can enjoy the season even more. Making conscious choices about how you spend the summer, both at home and away, can help the planet, as well as making those lasting memories, no matter what the weather. In this post, we’re looking at sustainable summer ideas, both for the garden, and when you’re out and about.

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Eco-Friendly Summer In The Garden

There are so many reasons to pick eco-friendly products for your garden, but the two we think are most important are to support the planet by reducing your impact on it, and for the aesthetic reasons. You want your garden to look the absolute best it can, so that you can both enjoy it, and show it off to your friends and family when they pop round for an hour and it turns into an impromptu barbecue. Just make sure you have plenty of SPF on hand!

Start With Outdoor Furniture And Accessories Made From Sustainable Materials

Styling your garden in the summer starts with great garden furniture. Seating such as benches, as well as an outdoor table, are an investment, but they’re also an investment in how much you can enjoy your space. Forget about those cheap and nasty plastic chairs – not only do they look tacky, but they are uncomfortable to sit on, get hot, and they stick to you when you’re hot and sweaty! Solid wooden garden furniture feels better to sit on and use, and it just looks so much better too.

If you’re looking for contemporary designs, then look for businesses that source their materials in a sustainable way. Wood from renewable forests are just the start; ideally, you’ll want your new garden furniture to be finished with environmentally friendly wood finishes, to protect it from the sun and rain.

Of course, if you’re on a budget, or you want to reuse materials you already have, there are some amazing DIY projects you can do. Repurposing an old wooden bed frame to make a bench is a simple project if you have the tools and the imagination, while old mirrors can age beautifully in the garden and can bounce light into shadier spots. Pinterest is a perfect place to start looking for inspiration.

Once you have your garden furniture in place, you’ll want garden accessories such as lanterns, placemats, and throws, as well as cushions for your comfy spots. If you’re adding garden lighting, then solar powered lights with dusk to dawn sensors are a great way to minimise the demand for electricity, which is better for the environment and your electric bill.

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Embrace Sustainable Gardening Practices

At this point in the summer, you’ll almost certainly have your gardening under control, but since gardening is a job that never ends, it is well worth investing in these ideas, to keep it looking great year round.

🌻  Choose plants and flowers that are native to the area – this is best for local wildlife and will take less maintenance such as watering.

🪵  Get an effective composting setup. You might have a corner that you can build a really efficient setup, but if not, it is worth buying a bin that can help you create fertile compost that you can put back into your flower beds.

🐦  Create wildlife-friendly habitats such as planting wildflowers and adding bird boxes. Not only does this benefit the local area, but you’ll be able to watch them, which is great for kids too.

🌧  Harvest rainwater. If there’s a hosepipe ban – as there is in many areas when it gets hot – then having a water butt at the bottom of a drainpipe will mean you can keep your flowers looking great.

Make The Most Of Your Outdoor Cooking

Cooking and dining al fresco in the summer is a real joy. Whether you’ve got a full outdoor kitchen, or you prefer a simple barbecue, make the most of it. Be sure to pack up leftovers and put them in the fridge promptly (leftover barbecued burgers make an amazing lunch with salad the next day!) to avoid waste and to iffy tummies. Make use of jugs with lids to hold your summer beverages, reusable steel straws, and reusable ice pop moulds for tasty treats to keep you cool. Since you know exactly what went into them, and you can add extra fruit, they’re likely to be healthier too.

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Keep Bonfires And Barbecues As Clean As Possible

We know – burning stuff isn’t really all that good for the environment, and certainly, burning garden waste creates a lot of smoke that can annoy your neighbours. Rather than burning your garden waste, make use of your compost heap, or use your local council’s garden waste service.

However, if like us, you really don’t want to miss out on the joy of a great evening sat around a bonfire, use firewood and kindling that has been created for that exact purpose. Unlike garden waste, when properly dried wood burns, it produces a cleaner smoke that is less likely to get in your face as you’re enjoying drinks around the firepit or chimenea in the evening. If you can source your firewood locally, from sustainable forests or managed felling, then that’s even better, since the impact of transportation is minimised too.

The main thing to avoid? Single use barbecues. They might be convenient, but they are almost impossible to recycle, and so they end up in landfill.

Sustainable Summer Activities Outside The Home

Of course, staying at home isn’t the only thing we want to do during the summer – we want to get out and enjoy everything nature has to offer us. Depending on what you and your family like to do, there are so many great options to make the most of the local area, and the weather. A few ideas for you to consider include:

🌳  A simple walk – in the countryside, along a river or canal, on the beach, or just through the park

🥾  A bigger, longer hike – take advantage of off-road paths and trails, or do longer sections of walks such as the South West Coastal Path

🥪  Have a picnic – this can be as simple as a few sandwiches and sausage rolls with the kids and their friends, or raid your local farm shop for delicious treats and a bottle of something sparkly

⛺️  Go camping – bring your tent and a portable barbecue, and enjoy an evening or two under canvas

🏖️  Head to the beach – make a 10 minute litter pick a tradition while you’re there

🏋️‍♀️  Take your exercise outdoors – yoga, running, cycling, and even just meditation is wonderful in the fresh air

🍉  Visit local pick your own farm shops – kids will love choosing their own fruit, and you can use it the next day to make delicious treats!

♻️  Wherever you can, bring reusable food and drinks containers, and it goes without saying that you dispose of any rubbish responsibly.

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How Does Supporting Local Businesses Help In The Summer?

Many local businesses have a much bigger focus on being eco-friendly than large corporations do, and are able to focus on creating a more sustainable offering, from product conception to delivery packaging. That means that you get high quality, unique products, and you can feel good about your purchase in terms of the planet. But in addition to looking after Earth, you probably already know that lot of small local businesses are having a tough time right now, and it is harder than ever to even survive, let alone thrive and grow.

So, whether you’re looking for new sustainable products for at home, or you’re out and about enjoying what the countryside has to offer during the summer, make supporting local businesses a conscious decision.

Our Commitment to Sustainability

When we founded Ben Simpson Furniture, we knew we wanted our business to be as sustainable as possible. We use natural resources, and while we source our wood from 100% sustainably managed forests, we knew that wasn’t enough. That’s why we have worked tirelessly to ensure we have refined our processes further.

Plastic free packaging was a must for us, and although it took us a while to be able to find the perfect solutions – especially for our brackets – we now ship absolutely everything with no plastic at all. Not only that, but we make use of our offcuts, and even our sawdust, to reduce our environmental impact even further.You can read more about our commitment to sustainability here and here.

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Final Thoughts

Sustainability should be at the forefront of our minds all year round, but there are even more opportunities to make our homes and gardens more sustainable during the warmer months of the year. Since our gardens are the places we want to spend a lot of our time in the summer, it is worth investing both time and money to make them a wonderful place to be – and a sustainable part of your home.

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