If you would like to do your part to help the environment, why not begin in your very own backyard? Creating a more eco-friendly garden is easier than it sounds, and if you’re mindful of the products and methods you use, you can even encourage the ecosystem to thrive. The key to sustainable gardening is to try to maintain a zero-waste attitude, as you would in other aspects of your life. Recycle and reuse materials to decorate and maintain your garden, and you can even DIY ornaments, flower beds, and wildlife habitats and feeders. Here are few more gardening tips that will not only make your yard more sustainable but also beautiful and inviting all year round.
Choose native plants
First things first, the most eco-friendly choice for your garden is native plants. These will thrive in the natural climate and be compatible with local wildlife. By opting for locally sourced alternatives, you can also avoid the environmental impact of importing non-native plants. If you’re not sure which species are indigenous to your region, you can use this native plant finder to help you.
Allow the garden to overgrow
A well-kept garden isn’t always the most sustainable. If you allow it to get a little wild you’ll encourage important insects and pollinators, and even small animals and birds. Try letting certain areas overgrow and keep other parts neat, for example. Allow the lawn to grow a little longer and set up zones for wildlife. This could include a rock garden, or pond even for any amphibians. Make the most of the space you have. Even upturned logs and branches will give the local wildlife a safe place to forage.
If you have space, plant trees in your yard. Trees can be very beneficial for your garden. They release oxygen and help to prevent soil erosion. If they’re strategically positioned they can also provide shading and privacy. This could even help keep your home protected from the elements and reduce your energy bills. Remember to choose native trees as well. If you or anyone in your family suffers from seasonal allergies, it’s also worth finding out if they’re caused primarily by tree pollen before planting more trees. You can find out more about common tree pollen symptoms from Allergy Insider.
Plant ground cover not grass
There are several ground cover alternatives to a grass lawn that are actually better for the environment. Some examples include moss or clover. These both provide an even soft covering and will stay green throughout the hot months. They also attract bees and other pollinators more than freshly cut grass. These will help to maintain the local ecosystem. You could also consider fragrant creeping perennials as well.
Grow your own crops
Another perfect addition to your eco-friendly backyard is a vegetable garden. Growing your own allows you to live a more sustainable lifestyle in general. You’ll save money in the supermarket and won’t have to worry about excessive packaging. It’s also a very satisfying hobby. If you’re new to gardening, start with a herb garden or some summer salad seeds. This will grow quickly and easily. You can then try planting seasonal vegetables throughout the year.
Use recycled materials
In order to keep your yard as eco-friendly as possible, you should try to use recycled materials whenever you can. Keep old tubing, wood, or groundsheets from any DIY projects as these are very useful in the garden. Wooden crates are also very versatile. You can turn them into vertical gardens, compost heaps, or even animal habitats. You can also build raised beds from recycled materials, such as crates, upcycled drawers, and boxes.
Make upcycled ornaments
Another way to decorate your garden with recycled materials is by upcycling household items. This one of the best eco-friendly family activities for the warmer seasons. Look for items you can repurpose as planters, these can be anything from a watering can to wellington boots. Get the kids involved looking for old objects to turn into plant pots, hanging baskets, or other decorations. Even mason jars, for example, can be very versatile.
Create a haven for wildlife
You can also DIY your own feeders and habitats to create a wildlife-friendly yard. Try making a bird feeder from a recycled plastic bottle and a couple of sticks as perches. You could also make a butterfly or hummingbird feeder from a glass bottle with sugar water inside. Gather some recycled wood and bamboo and make a bee hotel. The little holes are all they need to create a makeshift hive.
Provide a water source
Providing a water source is another way to attract local wildlife. Different types and animals will come for a quick drink and a place to refresh. If you haven’t got much space, you can create DIY water features from repurposed household items. All you need to build a miniature pond, for instance, is a simple container such as an old plant pot, bucket, or even sink, filled with a layer of pond covering, and few pebbles. Fill your pond with rainwater, not from the faucet, and add a couple of plants like miniature water lilies. Build your pond somewhere that gets plenty of light but not intense sun all day, and it should thrive and attract wildlife.
Try to be mindful and consider all the ways you can reuse and recycle yard waste. If you mow the lawn, you can actually leave the clippings directly on the grass. These will decompose quickly and the nutrients will be given right back to the soil. This helps reduce the need for fertilizer. Other types of garden waste can also be used as mulch including twigs and leaves. Fall is the perfect season for making mulch. This can be used to enrich your soil while reducing the growth of weeds.
Make your own compost
Compost can be made from food waste. This includes vegetable and fruit peelings, eggshells, and tea. You can then use this homemade compost to fertilize your eco-friendly garden. If you want to use other items such as bread or grains they should be treated first to help them decompose more quickly. You also will need to monitor your compost and keep it moist with water. Here is a complete guide on how to make compost. It’s much easier than it sounds.
Cut down on chemicals
Avoid using pesticides and fertilizers that contain harmful chemicals. Instead, look for organic products or make your own. Chemical fertilizer and herbicide will strip the soil of nutrients and will be damaging to the environment over time. The more organic matter you can integrate with your soil the better and you also need to keep it aerated. With a bit of natural food and care, your lawn and flowerbeds will thrive.
Level out slopes
If you have slopes or dips in your yard, the most eco-friendly way to level these out is with terracing. Terracing is a way to level out a sloped yard into flat planted areas. Rainwater will soak into the beds and this process will help to prevent erosion and stormwater runoff which are both bad for the environment. Filling your slopes and dips with flowerbeds, shrubs, or even herb gardens will also add to the appeal of your landscaping.
Harvested rainwater is perfect for watering your eco-friendly yard. If you successfully collect your own rainwater you can greatly reduce the amount of household water wasted. You could try out any number of rainwater harvesting system ideas. Find the one that best suits your home and landscaping design. Most systems will collect rain that runs out of your gutters and roofs allowing you to reuse this in your garden. Once set up, it’s easy to use a rainwater harvesting system all year round.
Go with the flow of the garden
The best way to maintain an eco-friendly backyard is to go with its natural flow. This means doing what you can to support the local ecosystem by cultivating native plants in the right way and encouraging the environment to flourish. Plant according to the garden, not your own personal landscaping preferences. If you try to use this approach, you will work with the natural characteristics of your yard rather than against them. Rather than over pruning, let your yard grow a little messily from time to time and it will help to preserve plants, and local wildlife.
Always aims to collaborate with the natural ecosystem to create a sustainable space to enjoy. This will help you build the perfect environment for growing flowers and crops and a lovely place to relax. By making your yard as eco-friendly as possible, you’ll also be able to welcome a few wild visitors and provide them with the ideal habitat they need. Natural, sustainable gardens are also cheaper to maintain. You’ll even save money making your outside space even greener this year. With a few simple sustainable gardening tips, you can transform your yard into an eco paradise.