With the cost of living on the rise, there’s never been a better time to look at how to make your garden a little greener. No, we’re not just talking about watering the lawn (hosepipe ban notwithstanding), but it’s also important to focus on how to make gardening more eco-friendly and sustainable.
From tapping into your rain reserves to selecting sustainable soils, here we look at six ways you can work towards growing a more eco-friendly garden
Reuse your rain
With this summer seeing droughts and hosepipe bans, keeping the garden hydrated has been tricky, but installing a water butt is a simple way to give your thirsty plants and grass some refreshment.
Generally, water butts are inexpensive but can save you money on your water bills - something that many of us would probably appreciate at the moment. Simple to fit, the water butt works by collecting and storing rainwater so that you can use it in your garden as you wish. Just place it outside within reach of your downpipe and connect it up using a diverter (many water butt kits come with all the equipment you need to do this). Then, when the showers do arrive, you’ll be able to start conserving that water and begin working towards a more eco conscious gardening approach.
Retain your reserves
As well as collecting your rainwater to keep the garden hydrated, you’ll also want to think about water retention as another way of gardening sustainably. By using mulch on your soil, you could reduce the amount you have to water by as much as two-thirds. Mulch offers shade for your soil, which aids water retention and helps to conserve soil moisture.
Scrap single use
Next time you’re buying new plants or bulbs for your garden, have a think about how they’re packaged. Many plants come in plastic, single-use pots, while bulbs, compost and other garden products are in plastic bags or wrapping.
If you can, try to purchase more eco-friendly options, such as plants in reusable pots or bulbs in boxes. Investing in some planters might be more expensive in the short term but they’ll last you years and will look much more aesthetically pleasing than black plastic plant pots, too.
Speaking of those plastic pots - generally they can’t be placed in your recycling bin because they contain pigments which make them undetectable to the sorting machinery used to sort plastics. However, many local authorities do offer collections so it’s worth checking with yours to see if they can sustainably remove and even reuse your unwanted pots.
Consider your compost
Making your own compost is not only an excellent way to easily get rid of your garden waste, but it’s also very eco-friendly, too. Every 1kg of homemade compost typically saves over 0.1kg of fossil CO2 emissions, as well as helping to enrich your soil and offering a place for various creatures to live.
If you’re considering making your own compost, check out our pallet compost bin kits for everything you need to contain your green waste.
Buying compost? Peat free compost is generally thought to be more environmentally friendly because peatlands release carbon when the peat is removed for use in gardens. In fact, scientists believe that peatlands in Britain are releasing approximately 23 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year.
Petrol mowers and power tools might be convenient, but they’re not always the most environmentally friendly, and with fuel costs at an all time high, it could be worth switching to something more sustainable.
According to the RHS, if just 21% of UK gardeners who use power tools switched from fossil fuel to green energy electric-powered tools, it would save enough carbon equivalent to drive around the planet 29,820 times.
Or, if your energy bills are also higher than usual this year, perhaps it’s time to go back to basics with some manual tools?
Planting flowers, trees and plants in your garden that are native to your local area or to the UK is an easy way to be sustainable. No importing from overseas means you’re helping to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. Not only that, but by planting native species, you’ll encourage more wildlife to visit, such as bees and other pollinating insects.