Summer is the time when we do a lot of living outdoors. Take advantage of cool evening breezes and fire up the barbeque and eat outside. You could use a natural repellent like citronella candles or lemon eucalyptus oil to keep the mozzies at bay, or use a large mosquito net to enclose an eating area. If you're outside during the day, you could choose umbrellas and shaded areas to protect you from the sun's rays.
If you're having a party or barbeque, or you're out and about at picnics or outdoor events, try to avoid disposable plates and cutlery and help reduce waste. Carry a re-usable drink bottle rather than buying lots of drinks in plastic bottles on the hop. If there are no recycling facilities where you're picnicking or camping, bring your recycling home with you, including food scraps which you can compost at home. Your garden and worms will love you for it. Whether cooking indoors or outdoors, plan your meals before you shop and store your food properly. This will avoid food waste in the heat of summer and reduce rotting food going to landfill.
Pools and spas may be refreshing, but they can lose vast amounts of water through evaporation, sometimes up to 30,000 litres a year and can use as much energy as dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers combined. They're also chemical-intensive. If you have a pool, a well-fitting pool cover is a must — this can significantly reduce evaporation. Having a rainwater tank to capture rainwater is a great way to top up a pool when necessary.
If you're considering installing a pool, check water restrictions for your area and talk to installers and suppliers about energy use and the different types of filtration systems on the market, including natural pool designs which use biological filters.
Remember, it's your responsibility to ensure your home pool or spa is safe for everyone and minimises the risk of young children drowning. Ensure your pool and spa complies with safety and fencing regulations in your state or territory, and carry out regular checks to minimise the risk of accidents. The Royal Life Saving Society Make it Safe campaign has important information and a video about portable pool safety.
See our outdoor living guide for more ways to reduce waste, save energy and make your outdoor areas comfortable and beautiful.