Creating an eco-friendly garden
How green is your garden? This might sound like a silly question but actually, not all gardens are as eco-friendly as they could be.When done right, your garden can be an important asset in reducing your home’s overall carbon footprint.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at how to make an eco friendly garden, including a few green ideas you might want to incorporate.
How green is your garden? This might sound like a silly question but actually, not all gardens are as eco-friendly as they could be.
When done well, your garden can be an incredibly important asset in reducing your home’s overall carbon footprint. By making a few key changes, you can turn your garden into a haven for wildlife and a sustainable ecosystem for growing food and reducing waste. You also get the added benefit of being able to relax in a stunning environment with friends and family.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at how to make an eco-friendly garden, with a few green ideas you might want to incorporate.
What is an eco-friendly garden?
In a nutshell, an eco-friendly garden is one that is self-sustainable and that attracts and homes wildlife. It’s a space that is wonderful for you and your family to spend time in, but that doesn’t do harm to the planet with its carbon footprint.
An eco-friendly garden also helps to promote recycling, boost local biodiversity and be less wasteful than an ordinary garden.
Eco-friendly garden ideas
An eco-friendly garden isn’t the wild, overgrown jungle you might be imagining. In fact, you can have a stylish, contemporary outdoor space simply by making a few careful choices.
It’s all about selecting the right materials and factoring insects, birds and other wildlife into your plans. Technology can even play a part.
Here a few eco-friendly garden design ideas to start thinking about:
Wildflowers and trees
One of the best things you can do for your garden and the planet is to make it a pollinator-friendly space. It’s actually quite easy to do this too, as all you need to start off with are some native wildflower seeds. Go for bee-friendly plants, such as flowers with showy blooms and ‘open faces’ that pollinators simply love.
And if you have space, why not plant a native species of tree? Gardens with trees are more attractive to wildlife.
Growing your own food
Growing your own fruits, vegetables, herbs and salads is a good way to reduce your environmental impact. Produce grown in your own garden can also save you money, and it tastes that little better too.
To make your garden a productive one, start off small with easy to grow vegetables and fruits such as salad leaves, tomatoes or beetroot. You could even plant an apple tree.
There are lots of ways to reduce waste in the garden.
Starting with water consumption, why not install a water butt to harvest rainwater? Opt for a large one or a water butt on every downpipe, and you can easily store enough to water the whole garden. You might even have enough to use to flush the toilet.
You can also reduce water with an efficient irrigation system, and more sensible use of sprinklers and hosepipes.
Another way to reduce waste is to start a compost heap or buy a composter. You can throw all your garden waste and kitchen scraps in there, and create your own compost in a few months time.
Eco-friendly garden furniture
Most of us haven’t given a second thought to how environmentally friendly our patio furniture is. But actually, some garden furniture is treated with chemicals. As well as the energy and materials used to manufacture each item, there’s also the distance it has to travel to end up in your garden.
The same goes for buildings such as sheds, pergolas, playhouses and outbuildings. You may even want to consider buying eco-friendly garden tools too.
Making more sustainable choices with things like eco-friendly buildings and furniture can be tricky. To help make it easier, bear the following in mind:
- Choose local materials where possible. Start your search by looking for local suppliers, so items don’t have far to travel. This reduces the carbon impact of your garden furniture and supports local businesses at the same time.
- For timber products such as sheds, furniture and decking, look for wood marked with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) logo.
- Try to find out whether chemicals were used in the manufacture of the product. You can always play it safe and buy untreated wood (where suitable) for use in the dryer months.
Making homes for wildlife
So, you’ve planted lots of wildflower seeds, to attract bees to your garden. But there are lots more you can do to make your garden wildlife-friendly. For example:
- Add a water feature to provide a home for insects and amphibians and a drinking and bathing hotspot for birds.
- Consider making a tiny hole for hedgehogs in your fence or wall.
- Letting at least a part of your garden ‘grow wild’.
- Install bird boxes, bug hotels or even beehives.
Don’t know where to start? A professional garden landscaper will be able to scope out your garden and create an eco haven for you. They will be able to factor in which conditions work best for which plant, as well as making it a haven for you and your family too.
Tips for creating your eco-friendly garden
Ready and raring to get started? Here’s how to make an eco-friendly garden, or at least take your first few steps in the right direction:
- Get the kids involved: Making homes for wildlife and planting wildflowers can be brilliant projects to complete as a family. It can be lovely watching your hard work pay off when you start to see more birds, bees and other wildlife visiting your garden.
- Considering installing a swimming pool? Go for a natural pool instead: You’ll need to make it larger than an ordinary swimming pool, but you can avoid the use of chlorine and other chemicals. Plus, you don’t need to drain it – only top up the water that evaporates. This can reduce your home’s water consumption too.
- Go organic: It’s easy to reach for pesticides and fertilisers to help your garden grow (and keep insects off it) but these contain environmentally harmful chemicals. Try a more organic approach, avoiding these products and opting for organic compost, mulch and techniques like companion planting to grow your plants.
- Choose permeable paving: This is essential for preventing localised flooding, which can negatively affect local wildlife populations.
- Use solar lights: Lights powered by the sun don’t use any power, and they automatically come on when it gets dark. And as well as making use of a free source of sustainable energy, solar lights can also look very pretty.
Find more garden inspiration here.
And remember, it’s always a good idea to use a professional landscaper to help bring your eco-friendly garden ideas to life. This is especially important for things like natural swimming pools and sourcing eco-friendly garden buildings and furniture. A landscaper can also offer essential advice on how to plan out your garden and make the most wildlife and environmentally friendly choices.
Which are the best plants to choose for pollinators?
Some good bee-friendly options to go for are lavender, mahonia, viper’s bugloss, hawthorn, bluebells, crocuses, rosemary, borage, crab apple trees and ox-eye daisy.
How much do garden landscapers cost?
If you want advice on creating an eco-friendly garden and help to do it, take a look at our handy guide to the average cost of garden landscaping services.