Everyone knows the positive impact gardens have on the environment.
However, very few know that some gardens aren’t really ‘green’ in every sense of the word.
Specifically, some of the methods used to maintain and care for gardens are not-so-green.
For instance, the use of chemical pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers can do more harm than good.
At the same time, too much watering also means that you’re not conserving this natural resource.
So if you’re looking for ways to make your garden ‘greener’, this guide is for you.
The following are seven ways you can overhaul your garden the eco-friendly way.
1. Install solar lights
Lighting plays a significant role in the garden, specifically at night.
It can be used to enhance the entrance to your garden or make your beautiful trees, shrubs, and any other architectural feature stand out.
More importantly, lighting makes working in your garden at night easy and possible.
Admittedly, people have been accustomed to using traditional lights for their gardens.
These lights are powered by electricity from the grid and make use of long cables, making them a challenge to set up.
Luckily, there’s a much better alternative to traditional lights. Solar lights are brilliant not just for gardens, but for homes too.
Installing these lights in your garden means that you’re reducing your dependence on finite energy sources.
Solar lights get the power that they need from the sun — it’s clean, renewable, and infinite.
2. Recycle, recycle, recycle
Among the many issues that the world is facing at the moment, waste is one of them.
Unfortunately, there’s so many things that end up in the trash on a regular basis.
One simple and easy way to deal with this problem is to recycle materials by giving them a new purpose in your garden.
An excellent way to start is by improving your garden with railway sleepers.
In the garden, railway sleepers can be used as an edging, garden path, furniture, and so much more.
You can build your own makeshift railway sleepers using materials like discarded scaffolding planks, or pallets, which are both easy to find.
Alternatively, you can buy railway sleepers from local aggregate companies if you’d prefer to not DIY your own.
There are many other ways that your garden can make use of recycled materials.
For instance, water bottles can be used as a replacement for big and heavy watering cans. CD or DVD collections that are just gathering dust can also be used to scare birds off from eating your seeds and vegetables.
Finally, old pallets make great compost bins which is a good way to provide your plants with much-needed nutrients.
3. Start composting
Speaking of compost bins, now is the perfect time to start composting.
Finished compost is mostly made of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other trace minerals and micronutrients that your plants need.
Applying compost to your garden will also make your soil a more suitable place for your plants to grow.
That’s because it will improve soil aeration, reduce erosion, improve the soil texture, regulate the soil’s pH level, and can also reduce plant disease.
Vermicomposting is one of the many ways to compost. It makes use of specific species of worms to produce humus which is considered to be more nutritious than other composts.
What’s great about this method is that you can use most of your kitchen scraps to feed the worms.
This will reduce your home’s overall carbon footprint meaning you’re doing something good for the environment.
4. Artificial grass
In most cases, something artificial is often not good for the environment.
However, that’s not entirely the case with artificial grass. In fact, synthetic turf may prove to be better than the real grass as far as eco-friendliness is concerned.
For starters, installing artificial grass in the place of your lawn means that you will save a lot of water.
Fake grass doesn’t need water except for the occasional cleaning.
It also doesn’t require fertilizers and pesticides. And since you never have to mow your artificial lawn, you reduce your carbon emission from the use of gardening equipment.
5. Reduce water usage
Plants need water to survive, and this may sound counter-productive, but you should save water whenever possible.
After all, it’s a natural resource that can be depleted in the future if not used properly and efficiently.
Rainwater is a free source of water for your plants that you should use to your advantage.
You can do this by installing water butts.
They may not be the most attractive addition to your garden, but they serve a very important purpose.
You can try hiding them behind plants, but be sure that they don’t get completely covered else you may struggle to get to, and use the water inside the butt.
Alternatively, you can also consider growing plants that don’t need too much water like lavender, rosemary or the orange bugle lily.
Try watering your plants in the afternoon or evening to maximize efficiency and avoid evaporation during hot summers.
Learn how you can reduce your water bill by up to 50% while keeping your garden healthy [hint: it's a proven product]
6. Attract wildlife
As mentioned earlier, the use of chemicals in your garden is not good for the environment.
A good and eco-friendlier way to deal with insect and pest problems is by providing habitat for their natural enemies.
For example, something as big as a discarded bathtub will most likely end up being thrown away.
However, you can make good use of it by turning it into a bathtub pond.
Not only will your garden benefit from a unique and nice-looking water feature, but it will also help you deal with pest problems.
You can do this by creating a little ecosystem in the pond by putting pieces of wood in it and adding some pond weed to keep the water clean.
This should attract frogs and toads that will feed on bugs and slugs that eat your crops.
7. Only choose locally-made materials
If you want to renovate or add features to your garden, the first thing that you should consider is to use recycled materials.
However, if you must buy the materials that you need for your gardening project, see to it that you only use those that are sourced locally.
Doing so will reduce your garden’s carbon footprint since these materials didn’t have to travel long distances which means very little to no carbon was emitted in the process.
For timber products and decking, look for a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) logo — this ensures that the trees were cut down responsibly.
Your new eco-friendly garden
Overhauling your garden in an eco-friendly manner doesn’t have to be difficult.
As you’ve seen, you can make simple changes that have both a positive effect on your garden, and the environment.
You don’t have to try every method.
In fact, starting with just one will set you on the path to a more sustainable garden.