How to create an eco-friendly garden
You don’t need to be a garden designer to transform your outdoor space for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t necessarily mean investing in recycled concrete aggregate and tearing up established flower beds either.
Eco gardening, the concept of making gardening good for the environment, can be achieved with a few simple steps. Follow this quick guide to ensure our beautiful gardens and ecosystems are thriving for future generations in just two steps.
Step 1 – Choose garden plants
The first step is to make your own garden a haven for beneficial insects and small mammals. You can encourage wildlife to thrive even if you only have space for some hanging baskets by selecting the right garden plants.
Establishing native plants in your eco-friendly garden is the best way to support local wildlife. The average garden might be bursting with non-native plants, as non-native varieties now outnumber native varieties across British wild areas.
So, choosing the right plant is important regardless of the size of your home. Starting with summer and spring flowers, we recommend:
Some of these varieties are best deadheaded but don’t forget to place the seed heads on a bird table in your garden to feed the birds. You can also explore flowering shrubs and native flowering hedges.
Our local ecosystems are a lot drier than they used to be, even if you live in the Lake District. Hot weather changes the soil structure and makes water plants struggle to survive even if they are native to the UK. Natural alternatives that can provide food for wildlife while also allowing you to save water include a variety of drought-resistant plants.
Many drought-resistant plants tend to have silver or narrow leaves, like palms, but there are also many familiar varieties that are surprisingly resistant to hot weather droughts.
Natural habitats are diverse. While a vast monoculture field may be best for growing food on a country-wide scale, growing plants and your own food at home should be a chance to diversify. Even if you can only place a few plastic pots on your balcony rather than establish a whole vegetable garden, it’s always best to offer wildlife a variety of plants.
Once you have a variety of native plants, bee-friendly plants, and drought-tolerant plants established, you can also think about other ways to change the environment of your garden. Creating a small pond for insects and critters can be lifesaving during the hot summer months, for example.
Step 2 – Employ eco-friendly gardening practices
With your eco-friendly garden in bloom, here is how to continue gardening in a low-impact manner. From using recycled materials to utilising garden waste, there are many steps you can take that don’t involve huge changes that are unfeasible for most gardeners (no matter how amazing an underground rain tank would be).
Make your own compost
You can make your own peat-free compost at home, leaving peat bogs alone and utilising household waste instead. Grass clippings and all other manner of organic materials can be composted into a homemade compost or soil conditioner.
The rule when making your own compost is to avoid using anything that may attract rodents or release toxins. So, things like leftover pet food and dairy products are left out, as well as materials like walnut tree clippings (totally toxic when decomposed) and large wooden logs (they take far too long to break down).
Grow your own fruit
An eco-friendly garden of a medium to large size can also grow fruit trees. Reducing your carbon footprint by harvesting your own food rather than visiting the supermarket is a pleasant pastime. Many native fruit trees can thrive in a garden setting with minimal assistance – reducing your food miles and providing blossom and fruit to beneficial insects.
Some nature-friendly fruit trees to grow and nurture with your own fertiliser include:
Natural pest control
It can be a challenge to remain environmentally friendly when you want to provide food from your garden. Pests like weeds can draw away precious nutrients from the soil, while insects and mammals can eat your favourite plants away.
Organic gardening encourages you to use natural resources to deter garden pests, rather than relying on chemical herbicides and pesticides. Companion planting can be a good start. For example, plant marigolds in your vegetable patch between the tomatoes, squash and cabbages to deter whiteflies, squash bugs and numerous other pests.
You could also try natural remedies. Mixing a solution of dish soap, lemon juice and water to spritz on plants infected with spider mites can be a quick and easy solution, for example.
Even with drought-tolerant plants, you will need to water your eco-friendly garden. Water butts, along with your own compost heap, are a bust. A water butt collects water from your garden, usually hooked up to the guttering drainage on your house.
If there are no nearby businesses selling water butts, you can always start collecting rainwater with a simple bucket. Some of our garden essentials at Gardeners Dream may also come in handy for collecting rainwater.
Feed and attract wildlife
Finally, an eco-friendly garden isn’t just about you. From fertilising plants with well-rotted manure to selecting the right plant to provide food for natural wildlife, there are many gardening practices that can help us maintain biodiversity in the UK.
Plants that blossom and produce fruit are highly beneficial. You can also introduce small trees and shrubs to provide shade, and water-dwelling plants for a wet area too. Maintaining biodiversity and the careful balance of life in the UK is key to maintaining the environment.
Creating an eco-friendly garden with Gardeners Dream
While you may not be able to fix the entire UK by recycling plastic bottles or preventing chemical fertilisers from being used on our British fields, you can still make a difference by nurturing an eco-friendly garden. Storing carbon in the soil, reducing waste sent to landfills, using less water, and even building structures from recycled materials – there are many practices that you can use to reduce your carbon footprint.
Get planting native, diverse and drought-tolerant plants today!