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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. 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.

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.

Take inspiration from 2024‘s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, whose theme this year is ‘sustainable and beautiful’.

Eco-friendly pallet garden

What is an eco-friendly garden?

In a nutshell, an eco-friendly garden is self-sustainable and attracts wildlife. It’s a space that is wonderful for you and your family to spend time in, whilst reducing your carbon footprint.

An eco-friendly garden also helps to promote recycling, boost local biodiversity and gives you the chance to grow your own food.

A good garden designer or landscaper can help you with your green garden vision.

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‘Gardens for the Future’ inspired eco-friendly garden ideas

An eco-friendly garden isn’t the wild, overgrown jungle you might imagine. It can be stylish, contemporary, fantastically floral, and eco-friendly.

All you need is some gardening inspiration and eco-friendly garden materials, and technology can even play a part in it.

The plants, insects, birds and wildlife will be grateful.

1. Make the most of your water

Our ever-changing climate can make managing a garden’s water levels hard.

The WaterAid Garden shows how to conserve water and help manage droughts.

Some ways to use water wisely include:

Conserving water via a water butt

2. Implement flood resilience

Take inspiration from the Flood Resilient Garden. You can transform a flood-risk garden into something sustainable and joyous.

Our top tips for this eco-friendly garden include:

  • Inject lots of lush foliage and colourful planting
  • Slow intense rainfall and store water for later with dense planting
  • Install an elevated deck and mound linked by a bridge over a central swale for a dry spot to relax
  • Use the swale to channel water into a feature pond, letting the rainwater soak away
  • Use large tanks to store water for later use – choose Smart Technology so you discharge it ahead of further rain

Flood resilient eco-friendly garden pond

3. Reduce water waste

Another great way to use your water wisely is to reduce waste in the garden.

Why not consider:

  • Installing a rainwater harvesting system like a pavilion or water butt – a large one on every downpipe can store enough to water the whole garden
  • Use an efficient irrigation system or water-saving sprinklers and hosepipes
  • Start a compost heap or buy a composter – throw in all your garden waste and kitchen scraps to create your own compost

Find out how much a rainwater system might cost you here.

Reduce waste in an eco-friendly garden

4. Celebrate trees and wildflowers

Get your garden back to nature with a pollinator-friendly space.

If you live in a built-up area, take inspiration from the Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Forest Bathing Garden. Create a tranquil haven by surrounding your city garden with birch trees.

Another great way to celebrate your space is to scatter native wildflower seeds. Go for bee-friendly plants, like showy blooms and ‘open faces’ that pollinators love.

Why not plant a native species of tree or large plants to attract wildlife.

How to use trees in an eco-friendly garden

5. Find art in nature

Be inspired by the Boodles Garden and use your garden to celebrate art.

Decorate your eco-friendly garden with sculpted metal arches, cutting-edge planting schemes, and topiary or water features to represent these artworks.

Here are some tips to make your art-inspired garden more sustainable;

  • Use recycled or repurposed sand for landscaping
  • When possible, avoid single-use plastic materials
  • Opt for natural materials like hessian (that also have a protective membrane)
  • Avoid cement in concrete or any sub-bases – install lighter or more open garden arches to allow for minimal sub-base

Look for a talented garden designer to take your artistic vision from canvas to garden.

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Artistic eco-friendly garden ideas

6. Make your garden an edible paradise

Get inspired by the Pulp Friction garden with an edible planting spread.

Reduce your environmental impact by growing your own fruits, vegetables, herbs and salads.

Produce grown in your garden can also save you money and tastes much better.

Start with easy-to-grow vegetables and fruits such as salad leaves, tomatoes or beetroot. You could even plant an apple tree.

creating your eco friendly garden

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Tips for creating your eco-friendly garden

Here are some easy steps to take today to create an eco-friendly garden.

1. Get the kids involved

Making homes for wildlife and planting wildflowers are brilliant projects for families.

The kids will love watching the birds, bees, and other wildlife visit your garden.

2. Go for a natural pool

Avoid the chlorine and other chemicals that come with traditional swimming pools.

A natural pool is an eco-friendly alternative that can reduce your home’s water consumption.

You’ll need to make it larger than a swimming pool, but you don’t need to drain it. Only top up the water that evaporates.

Natural swimming pool for eco-friendly gardens

3. Go organic

Avoid pesticides and fertilisers, as they contain environmentally harmful chemicals.

Try a more organic approach. Opt for organic compost, mulch and techniques like companion planting to help your garden grow.

Organic mulch for sustainable garden

4. Use solar lights

Lights powered by the sun don’t use any power. These outdoor lights use a free, sustainable energy source!

Solar lights can look very pretty, keeping with the sustainable and beautiful Chelsea Flower Show theme.

Sustainable garden solar lights

5. Choose eco-friendly garden furniture and outhouse

Most garden furniture is treated with chemicals and has a heavy carbon footprint.

For more sustainable garden furniture, choose local suppliers and materials. You can also look for wood marked with the FSC or PEFC logo.

Lastly, check if there are any chemicals on your furniture. Untreated wood can be a better option for the dryer months.

Eco-friendly garden furniture

6. Make your garden wildlife-friendly

Adorn your garden with the following:

  • Wildflower seeds for bees
  • A water feature for insects and amphibians
  • A drinking and bathing hotspot for birds
  • Make a tiny hole for hedgehogs in your fence or wall
  • Install bird boxes, bug hotels or even beehives
  • Let part of your garden ‘grow wild’

Beehive for sustainable gardens

7. Make your own compost

Composting is quickly becoming one of the most implemented eco-friendly garden idea.

Not only is it better for your soil, but it’s also a great way to recycle green waste.

Learn how to make your own compost.

Make your own compost for an eco-friendly garden

FAQs

Which are the best plants to choose for pollinators?

Some good bee-friendly plants include:

  • Lavender
  • Mahonia
  • Vviper’s bugloss
  • Hawthorn
  • Bluebells
  • Crocuses
  • Rosemary
  • Borage
  • Crab apple trees
  • Ox-eye daisy

How can I make my garden eco-friendly?

Don’t know where to start? A professional garden designer or garden landscaper can help.

First, they will scope out your garden. Then, they can offer essential advice on how to make your garden look gorgeous and environmentally friendly.

Basically, they’ll help you devise a plan to create an eco-haven for you and your family.

Inspired? We’ve got lots more garden inspiration here!

How much do garden landscapers cost?

A landscape gardener can be vital for creating sustainable gardens that are still stunning.

For more info – see our handy guide, ‘cost of garden landscaping services.’

Ready to transform your garden into a ‘garden of the future?’

Checkatrade is a great place to start. Search our leading directory for a list of highly-rated landscapers and garden designers near you.

Pop your postcode in the box below to get started.

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