18 Easy tips To Create An Eco Garden
New home, new garden? If you’ve recently moved home or are just looking to make your personal patch more eco friendly, here are some simple tips to create your own eco garden.
Did you know…
There are over 23,000,000 gardens in the UK which have a total surface area greater than all our national nature reserves combined!
That makes our gardens a vital resource for our wildlife.
Make Your Own Compost
Composting is a really easy way to start, not only does it prevent food and garden waste going to landfill but every 1kg of homemade compost saves 0.1kg of co2. That works out to a potential carbon saving of 15 – 19kg carbon, per gardener, per year.
Choose The Right Plants
Many people choose plants based on aesthetics, but these often don’t take into consideration the wildlife the rely on our native plants. Most seed packets these days carry information as to whether they are good for insects. Crocus, lavender, foxgloves, Buddleia, snapdragon, allium, wisteria and sunflowers are all good for bug life. The basic rule of thumb, the stronger the scent, the more it will attract insects. Insects will in turn attract other wildlife.
Avoid imported, foreign species. Our native insects and birds rely on homegrown plant species for survival, while exotic looking flowers might look good, they aren’t so attractive or helpful for wildlife.
I Like Big Butts…
Use water butts are the perfect solution to switch from mains to rains. Let’s face it, we get enough rain in this country so harvesting it by adding guttering to sheds or redirecting the gutters on your house into water butts can help conserve water and reduce co2.
Wet & Wild
Creating a natural water feature will attract a greater variety of birds and bugs as well as toads, frogs, newts and other species.
A Gardener’s Best Friend
No, not dogs, hedgehogs! They love nothing more than chomping on a tasty slug, which os good for your plants and veg. So invest in a hedgehog house, find a suitable place for it and open up those fences and hedges so they have a right of way in and out of your garden.
Ditch your old petrol mower and switch to a rechargeable electric one. It’ll reduce your garden’s use of fossil fuels and overall carbon footprint.
The Coffee Hammer!
Unlike your colleagues at work, slugs and snails hate caffeine! Coffee grounds are an environmentally friendly way to repel slugs and snails (they immediately turn around and head elsewhere when faced with coffee and caffeine rich soil) and can be sprinkled to create a protective barrier around veg patches and plants. They’ll also add nutrients into the soil. Win/win!
Plant A Tree
The Royal Horticultural Society estimate that if all 30,000,000 UK gardeners were to grow a medium-sized tree they would store enough carbon equivalent to drive you more than 11 million times around our planet (although you’re probably already driving an electric car!).
Upcycling household items to create quicky and interesting planters and features can reduce waste and create habitat for wildlife.
To be truly animal friendly, leave one section of your garden to go wild. Don’t cut, prune, plant or sow (unless it’s pushing your fences down or blocking out the light!), just let nature take its course. A s long as you remove non-native species it will find its own natural balance attracting the wildlife that will help the rest of your garden thrive.
Birds are a vital part of the garden eco system so encourage them into your garden by adding feeding stations. These should be placed away from fences or anywhere a neighbour’s cat might be lurking. You can also create your own birdfeed using leftover food scraps.
Home To Roost
Nesting boxes for birds and bats can help encourage them to take up home in your home (“Mi casa, tu casa.”)
Grow Your Own
Growing your own food is fun and feels really rewarding, there’s something immensely pleasurable about walking up your garden and picking produce for your evenings dinner and see it go from plant to plate in just moments. It is a great way to reduce wasted packing, food airmiles and frankly home grown just tastes so much better! I acre of land can produce enough food to feed an adult.
For Peat’s Sake!
Make your garden peat free. The billions of acres of natural peat across the planet stores more co2 than all the world’s forests combined!
Mulching your gardens green waste, such as leaves, twigs and branches can create great compost.
Right This Way
If your garden is surrounded by walls or fences, create a right of way by making holes for animals like hedgehogs roaming between gardens to allow them to roam in search of food and mates.
Replacing walls and wooden fences with hedges creates vital habitat, food and shelter for a wide variety of insects, birds and animals. The RSPB recommends planting rosemary, heather, hawthorn and beech but might need to be kept in shape as they can grow up to 1-3m (3–10 ft) or even taller. Rowan and crab apple are also handy habitat but avoid the commonly used Leyland Cypress which doesn’t offer much benefit to wildlife and can easily become unmanageable.