4 ways to green your outdoor living space Try these water-wise and earth-friendly ideas Make paths permeable Materials such as gravel permit water to percolate into the soil instead of running off into the street. Wide pathways of decomposed granite in this backyard easily allow rainwater through to the roots of the New Zealand flax, grasses, and colorful perennials growing nearby. The "fountain" is filled with cool blue senecio. Full story Pinterest Use recycled furniture Someone else's castoffs can be freshened and given new life as garden decor. A recycled mirror and a cafe chair create an intimate spot on the terrace. Choose unthirsty plants The Mediterranean plants in this garden aren't just modest in their water demands, they also stand up to the alkaline soil, low humidity, and hot, dry winds. Echeveria and New Zealand flax fill a pot. Make use of natural cooling When the house gets too warm in summer, Gelbart and Rhoadzhagen simply move outdoors to one of the several small open-air rooms they've created to expand their living space. This alfresco dining area is just outside the kitchen; lit by the sun and cooled by the breeze, it consumes zero energy.