Stephanie Nickolson headshotStephanie Nickolson has designed residential, commercial and eco-conscious environments for more than 24 years. Her firm, Stephanie Nickolson Design, promotes the use of sustainable, non-toxic, recyclable and environmentally-friendly products and services. The firm works largely with clients who have allergies, chemical sensitivies or who have children with special needs. 

 Spring is finally in the air here in Chicago! Even though the temperatures have not been the warmest and rain is still in the forecast, I'm thinking optimistically and went ahead and planted some flowers even though "they" say to wait until May 15. April is one of my favorite months. Not only because Earth Day is celebrated in this month, but because the season of lounging around outdoors, resting in the sun, entertaining,  eating delicious grilled food and sipping festive drinks looms so closely ahead.

 Outdoor furniture by Trex   photo courtesy Trex 
Trex's new line of outdoor furniture is made of recycled content such as milk jugs and detergent bottles. Photo Courtesy Trex. 

Whether acres of land surrounds your home or you dwell in a small area with a patio or deck in your yard, there are so many ways to celebrate spring and decorate your exterior sustainably and comfortably. The furniture shown above in white is newly introduced and offered by Trex, a company you may be familiar with for its outdoor decking material. The furniture is made of 99 percent recycled content, incorporating the use of recycled milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles. I love the fact that it's low maintenance and doesn't need to be repainted or refinished. View the entire line of furniture and decking iat Trex's website.

The wood furniture shown below is offered by Gaiam, a company that I was mostly familiar with for its yoga products until recently. This chair was actually an old wine barrel that has been recycled into this great product. You can give it a bit more cush by placing an outdoor-friendly upholstered cushion on it. (These can be purchased in many stores. )



The company Gaiam known for yoga products also offers outdoor products 
Gaiam's Wine Barrel Chair is made from 100 percent salvaged white oak wine barrels. Photo Courtesy Gaiam. 



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