Viewed on a wider scale, our gardens aren’t just a pleasant place to enjoy the sunshine on a sunny day but actually make up an important opportunity to become more eco friendly.
Many of our wild animals and plants are suffering thanks to habitat encroachment as more and more houses are built in wild areas and creating an eco friendly garden can go a long way to offering them food and shelter and thus helping the ecosystem at large.
Eco friendly gardens aren’t just an opportunity to help the nature on your doorstep, they can have an even wider effect when you take into account the water that many people use to keep their garden healthy, the various chemicals like weedkillers and pesticides in common use that can get into water sources and the possibility of using at least a small part of your garden to produce your own organic, home-grown fruit and vegetables thus reducing your food miles substantially.
In short anyone with a passion for protecting the environment can quickly and easily create an eco friendly garden that will not only reduce their carbon footprint but also help to support local wildlife into the bargain whilst still having a beautiful spot of land to enjoy themselves in which sounds like a win-win situation for everyone.
What Is An Eco Garden?
An eco garden, rather like an eco friendly house, is one that is designed specifically with the environment in mind. Eco friendly gardens are focused on combining both your own pleasure in enjoying your garden with efforts to reduce the environmental impact of your garden while supporting wildlife wherever possible.
Consider a standard garden which may have large sections of open, carefully-mown grass with a few beds of flowers. Certainly a few insects may find the flowers useful but overall a garden like this has few eco benefits.
Contrast this with a garden that specifically aims to provide habitats for wildlife, has a small vegetable plot, recycles kitchen waste with a compost bin, and uses intelligent design and carefully-chosen plants to minimize the necessary use of water and chemicals to keep it in best health and you’ll be thinking of an eco friendly garden.
Of course creating an eco garden doesn’t mean you’re “donating” your garden to the environment and can’t enjoy it yourself. Eco friendly gardens can still be filled with beautiful flowers. You can enjoy fresh food produced by your own fair hands. You can relish in all the wildlife that you see around your yard and there’s nothing to say you can’t still have a patch of lawn or some decking to sit out on to read a book, play with the kids or have a barbeque. In short an eco garden is designed both for the environment and for people rather than your own personal pleasure being it’s sole reason for existence.
Eco Friendly Garden Ideas
There are almost unlimited possibilities for making your garden more eco friendly so it would obviously be impossible to cover every last detail here however there are some general factors we can consider to help make your garden as environmentally-friendly as possible.
Reduce Water Consumption
Water is a limited resource and gardens can be very water-hungry. Fortunately there are a wide range of ways in which you can still have a stunning garden but use (or waste) less water.
Provide Habitats For Wildlife
Not only is wildlife important from the perfective of the food web but it can make your garden a more interesting place to be as well as actually acting as a natural source of disease and pest control, thus allowing you to work with nature rather than against it and creating a more sustainable and healthier garden.
Just a few ideas to conjsider can include:
– Create a log pile as a place for small mammals to hide
– Create a wildlife pond as a place for local animals to drink, bathe and even breed
– Set aside a small area to grow wild flowers that can be important food plants for a range of wild insects
– Install bat boxes and bird boxes to provide breeding spaces for these creatures as well as encouraging them into your garden as a source of biological control
– Install bird feeders
– Grow nectar-rich flowers that butterflies and moths will feed from
Eliminate Chemical Use By Growing Organically
In many ways using pesticides and weedkillers is the easy and obvious way to keep your garden under control and looking healthy but these chemicals can of course cause damage to the environment as well as posing danger to many of our wild animals. Using garden chemicals doesn’t just risk the environment though; they also cost you money every time you apply them and can also create a large amount of work in applying them.
However in the eco friendly garden it’s possible to use a range of low-maintenance and low-cost strategies to reduce or even eliminate the chemicals you use in your garden while keeping it in top condition and saving you considerable amounts of time and money into the bargain. Here are just a few ideas:
– Apply natural fertilizers such as your own garden compost to help your plants to grow vigorously and therefore make them harder to attack by pests and parasites
– Research and plant varieties of plants that have been specifically bred to be resistant to common diseases and problems
– Remove weeds by hand rather than dousing them in weedkillers
– Plant your garden densely which makes it harder to weeds to get a foothold in your soil
– Plant “green manures” on open patches of soil which will not only make it harder for weeds to germinate but can these green fertilizers can then be turned back into the soil where they will provide nourishment and improve your soil quality.
– Create traps for slugs and snails rather than putting down slug pellets which can be toxic to wildlife and pets
– Encourage wildlife into your garden which will feed on pests and parasites
Set Up A Composting Bin To Reduce The Rubbish You Throw Away
From vegetable peelings to food that has gone off, from egg shells to old tea bags, lots of kitchen waste that is otherwise thrown away can be easily turned into rich, delicious-smelling compost to use around your garden rather than being sent to landfill.
Grow Your Own Food
Food miles are a growing concern (no pun intended!) but you can reduce your carbon footprint, have fun and end up with some of the freshest and most delicious food you’ve ever tasted with minimal effort.
Eco Friendly Garden Products
There are a large (and ever-growing) number of eco friendly garden products that will help you to create the garden of your dreams without you needing to compromise on your environmental standards.
For example natural medications and biological control agents are available to help you deal with pest problems or sick plants without you needing to resort to harmful chemicals.
A number of watering systems are available to help keep your plants healthy without needing to waste water. As an example thin pipes can be buried in your garden, with each pipe having small holes which deliver water to exactly where it’s needed.
As these pipes are buried beneath the soil surface they prevent the water from evaporating and instead add moisture beneath the soil surface exactly where your plants can use it. Whilst installing these systems can take a little effort, viewed over the long term they will not only help to reduce the water that you use in your garden but will also make your watering tasks far simpler.
Another popular eco friendly garden product is the ever-growing range of solar garden lighting which charges up during daylight hours and then emits a gentle, attractive artificial light after dark so you can keep entertaining after sundown without needing to use non-renewable energy.
Of course the list of eco friendly garden products goes on and on and, depending on your viewpoint, could include items such as compost bins, garden mulches and water butts to conserve rainwater.
Eco Garden Furniture
Another consideration for the eco friendly garden is the furniture you opt to purchase. Garden chairs, recliners, sun beds, patio tables and more can be made from a wide range of materials though common options are either plastic made from fossil fuels or metal which is often painted and treated using toxic chemicals which may soon flake in the sun and lead to rust and a shortened lifespan for your garden furniture.
However those who care can now buy a range of eco garden furniture – much of it made from sustainably-sourced wood and carefully treated to ensure a long lifespan. Not only does eco garden furniture often look nicer but it’s also just one more way you can help the environment.
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