This modern yet meditative backyard retreat is infused with environmentally friendly design.

Sustainable Outdoor Living Fireplace Deck Seating
Thomas J. Story

While some popular outdoor design choices are deceptively harmful to our planet, we are now welcoming even more eco-minded options that not only address our personal needs but also take care of the natural world, too. The team behind Yardzen, the leading online landscape design and build platform, is tapping into this mindset by offering timeless design that is also kinder to the environment. For this extensive outdoor upgrade of a family home in Los Angeles, they assembled a dream team of brands to bring a high level of quality and design sensibility to the project, along with plants and products that will stand the test of time—not to mention the elements.

Sustainable Backyard Before / Yardzen

Courtesy of Yardzen

From TimberTech’s premium decking that looks just like real wood but is made with up to 85% recycled materials, to the vibrant water-wise plantings of the Sunset Plant Collection, to Terra’s chic yet mindfully-manufactured furniture, inspiration abounds in every corner of this serene urban oasis. Whether you’re looking to make a few updates to your existing outdoor space or are embarking on a full overhaul, this backyard retreat is proof that you don’t have to sacrifice style when it comes to making sustainable selections.

High Style, Low Impact

Sustainable Outdoor Living Entertaining

Thomas J. Story

Terra’s outdoor furniture adds sophistication while being responsibly sourced and produced. Located just off the kitchen, the Larkspur dining table and benches and Mendocino dining chairs, made from sustainably harvested Grade-A solid teak, deliver a rustic warmth and casual elegance evoking the quintessential Western lifestyle while framing an outdoor space perfect for al fresco entertaining. Nestled in the garden, the Woodside Adirondack chairs offer reclined refinement with a modern spin on the classic and feature a comfortable wide-plank, squared-off back design crafted of envirowood, a durable resin made with post-consumer recycled plastic. They’re also a feel-good purchase: A tree will be planted as part of the U.S. Forest Service Plant-A-Tree Program with every order. Pick out your own Terra sustainable styles at

The “New Lawn”

Sustainable Outdoor Living Fireplace Deck Seating

Thomas J. Story

There is no question that sod lawns are a net-negative for the environment and the landscape design team at Yardzen is on a mission to offer desirable eco-friendly alternatives. By reducing the grass footprint on this project, permeable hardscaping was swapped in the form of gravel and interlocking pavers to create a space for entertaining that would also provide crucial rainwater absorption. These materials are an environmentally conscious choice that reduces runoff and assists in less puddling, while aiding in healthier plant growth and the prevention of erosion. In-ground beds were also added in to accommodate climate-adapted plants, while raised beds filled with edibles now connect the family to nature, create habitat, and build local food systems. Start planning your landscaping makeover at

Planting with Purpose

Lomandra Platinum Beauty

Thomas J. Story

Tailored to the Western gardener, Sunset plants are uniquely developed to meet diverse ecological needs, and this low-water landscape comes alive in the form of in-ground plantings and dynamically paired containers. The key to sustainability is using plants that will thrive in your particular location, requiring less watering, fertilization, and care. Throughout the yard, a combination of containers interplanted with structural succulents such as Skyscraper® Senecio and gorgeous grass-like leaves of Platinum Beauty® Lomandra and Black Adder Phormium create a lush, beautiful backdrop of silvery greens, feather-like texture, and a pop of purple. Mixing more cottage-style greenery such as Beach Ball™ Pittosporum and ‘Lemon-Lime’ Nandina with a geometric gem-like SUPERSEMPS® ‘Ruby’ Hens & Chicks can create an unexpected combination that will not only weather dry spells with grace, but also burst forth with color, texture, and life, transforming your landscape into a retreat flourishing with low-maintenance charm. Find Sunset plants near you by using the store locator at

Sunset Plant Collection Plants
Plants, clockwise from left: ‘Lemon-Lime’ Nandina; SUPERSEMPS® ‘Ruby’ Hens & Chicks; Platinum Beauty® Lomandra; Beach Ball™ Pittosporum; Black Adder Phormium.

Clockwise, from left: Sunset Plant Collection; Reed Kaestner Photography/Sunset Plant Collection; Sunset Plant Collection; Sunset Plant Collection; ©Saxon Holt PhotoBotanic/Sunset Plant Collection

Renewable Relaxation

Sustainable Living Deck

Thomas J. Story

With decking engineered from 60 to 85% recycled content, TimberTech outperforms wood while helping homeowners create nature-inspired, sustainable outdoor living spaces. By creating visual interest through elevation changes, TimberTech’s composite decking creates open air rooms that establish functional spaces and maximize moments of rest and enjoyment. With a lower carbon footprint than both pine decking and Brazilian Ipe decking, TimberTech’s Legacy Collection (shown here in Pecan) innovates beyond traditional composite decking with authentic, real wood looks, board-to-board color variation and premium polymer-capped composite boards that never have to be sanded, stained, or sealed. A chic, eco-conscious choice for anyone building outdoor entertaining areas meant to last. Browse TimberTech’s full line and order samples at