How To Create An Eco-Friendly Garden

Here at Ecoscape, we know that creating a garden which you love isn’t only about the fencing or composite decking that you choose – that’s only the start. Creating the outline of your garden with our help is a great opportunity to think about how you’d like to enjoy your garden once it’s created.

We like to encourage our customers to really put some thought into how their garden would look and feel if it was exactly how they wanted it. 
After all, we are a nation of garden lovers, so this is where our climate can really come into play and it makes sense to work with it rather than against it when creating your perfect garden. We discuss and joke about our weather being so varied, but you can’t deny it creates a very green country! 

It’s not just our gardens that are green though – we’re also one of the greenest countries in the world in terms of attitude, being placed 6th on the Environmental Performance Index last year. 

Whilst we still have a long way to go, a great place to start is your garden. Besides being a fantastic place to escape the world, you can also do your bit for the environment too, something that we ourselves have taken into consideration as one of the UK’s leading composite decking suppliers.


Encourage Wildlife Into Your Garden

Depending on how much you love sharing your garden with the other ‘locals’, you can really embrace how inviting your garden can be for wildlife. It’s no secret that residential building can sometimes deplete natural habitats, so giving some thought to providing natural homes for the creatures around you could create a haven to keep them happy as well as you.

You don’t even need a large garden to attract a variety of wildlife into it – here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Plant a butterfly garden – the right plants can create a perfect place for butterflies to lay eggs. Plants such as hedge garlic or buckthorn bushes make fantastic breeding sites for them to thrive in.
  • Provide nesting boxes – bats, bugs, birds – they all need safe spaces to shelter in. The happier they are, the more likely they are to stay and breed too so giving homes such as bird boxes or hedgehog shelters can be invaluable to them by keeping them safe from predators.
  • Hedges or bushes can become amazing nest sites for a multitude of animals. Look at the food sources you’re offering with the berries and seeds your plants will provide as just a few well-selected plants could be irresistible to some species. 
  • Introduce water features to your garden – again they don’t need to be big at all but you’ll be amazed at how popular they are – you can’t beat watching a bird enjoying itself in a birdbath but you could also attract many invertebrates too such as frogs or toads.

If this is something you’d like to explore more, here are some more ideas from the RSPB on how to encourage wildlife into your garden.


Companion Planting

Looking at how the different parts of your garden interact can be really interesting. Companion planting is an age-old tradition but can be used in many ways from helping to ward off potential pests from your beloved plants to providing shade to protect fragile plants from the sun.

With the right combination, the plants can really help each other to thrive so if you are looking to use companion planting within your garden, here are a few ways you can make this work:

  • Tansy – the strong scent of this plant deters ants so planting this if you know you have problematic ants nests could be a useful midterm solution.
  • Garlic – this repels aphids so is perfect for growing near your roses.
  • Peas – these take nitrogen from the air and store it in their roots so are a fantastic way of replenishing nutrients in the soil.
  • Yarrow – this attracts ladybirds and hoverflies which are both useful pest munchers, but it also accumulates phosphorus, calcium and silica so is useful while it’s growing, but is a great ingredient for your compost afterwards too. 

If you’d like to learn more about companion planting, this great article from RSPB / BBC Gardening is really helpful.


Create Your Own Compost

Composting is so easy but really rewarding. Most of us make much more of a concerted effort with our recycling nowadays, but having a compost heap or bin is great for some of your food waste too, further reducing the burden on landfill.

When you think that every year, over 7 million tonnes of food is wasted, that’s a lot of nutrients which could be far better utilised.

Here are some guidelines on creating the perfect composting heap or bin to help to feed your garden well too:

  • Location is important – choose a level spot where the compost can drain well and worms can easily access it too.
  • Worms are man’s best composting friends – they really help to break the ingredients down by digesting the matter and converting it into liquid and compost. If you are looking to buy worms to give your compost a kick start, tiger worms are one of the best types you can buy in terms of efficiency.
  • Great composting ingredients – this is the key to success as the right ingredients will produce a feast of nutrients for your plants, so you can include: 
    • Plant Prunings,
    • Grass Cuttings,
    • Fruit Waste,
    • Vegetable Peelings,
    • Teabags.
  • Terrible composting ingredients – if you think of compost as a rich healthy source of broken-down nutrients, that’s a far cry from a pile of rotten food. Some ingredients to avoid are:
    • Meat,
    • Dairy Products,
    • Diseased Plants,
    • Perennial Weeds – such as Dandelion or Thistle,
    • Weeds with seed heads,
    • Animal Waste (or babies nappies),
    • Plastic, Glass or Metal.

You can find further guidance from the Eden Project on how to create your own garden goodies for your plants here.


Grow Your Own Fruit And Veg

Besides the therapeutic aspect of gardening, growing your own fruit and veg is known to be a rewarding hobby. Eating something you have grown yourself evokes pride and satisfaction that you started, nurtured and completed something, and has been proven in studies to help with mental health.

Not only does it help to relax, but it is a great activity that all of the family can get involved in too. A regular request we now have due to it’s growing popularity is to build larch or cedar raised beds to grow your own produce in. 

This is a fantastic activity to get children involved in too as it not only teaches them the responsibilities and process of growing and nurturing plants, but it encourages them to try new foods too.

Here are some great choices to get yourself started with:

  • Salad Leaves,
  • Courgettes,
  • Strawberries,
  • Beetroot,
  • Tomatoes,
  • Onions,
  • French Beans,
  • Pumpkins.

That’s just a taster (no pun intended!) to get you started but you can see they are useful foods which we use in our diet regularly. Not only will you have the delight of knowing you grew the goodies yourself, but the food tastes a lot nicer when you’ve grown it and are eating it straight after picking it. You know there’s no harmful pesticides and all of the nutrients are still present as it didn’t have to travel across the globe to reach you.

You can learn more about growing your own here such as when to plant during the year etc.


Conserve Water

Most of us are conscientious towards water usage in our homes – particularly since water meters were introduced – but it’s easy to overlook what we can do in our garden.

It’s estimated that even in the driest parts of the UK, over 24,000 litres of water could be collected from our rooftops each year. That’s a lot of plants which could be watered!

There are many ways you can be more efficient with your water in your garden – here are some of them:

  • Avert rainwater into a water butt from your drain pipes to capture that rooftop water.
  • Hide open wheelie bins or large vessels to collect rain throughout the year – cover with mesh though to keep out matter which could rot.
  • Consider plants which don’t need much water such as Lavender or Mimosa.
  • Water at the right times such as evenings to reduce evaporation.
  • Check your soil about a spade depth down before watering to avoid wastage – if it isn’t dry, the roots of your plants still have access to water.
  • Consider installing irrigation systems – certain parts of your garden may need extra moisture, but perforated hoses under the ground near thirsty regions, especially if channelled from water butts, are a fantastic way of only watering where needed (and with much less effort if you’re aiming for a lower maintenance garden).

Here is a little more insight on how you can effectively minimise your water usage in your garden.


Create Natural Herbicides

If you’re trying to create a natural haven for the creatures of the world to enjoy with you, the last thing you want is harmful chemicals which would endanger them.

We know you’re trying to create a welcoming environment, but sadly there are some guests which really aren’t welcome if their goal is to strangle other plants or happily munch their way through your hard work.

There are plenty of natural ways you can discourage them though and here are just a few:

  • Boiling Water – this can be a great disinfectant for infected areas.
  • Orange Peel Pesticide – steeping orange peel in boiling water and leaving for 24 hours makes a great spray deterrent for insects.
  • Salt & Vinegar Herbicide – Salt, vinegar and a little washing up liquid combined in a spray is really effective on unwanted weeds in the garden and between paving stones.
  • Spicy Garlic Insecticide – this one sounds more like something we’d eat ourselves but using chilli peppers, onion and garlic in a spray makes a disgusting combo for bugs – they’ll avoid any plants you’ve treated with this one!

If you’d like the recipes and instructions for any of the above suggestions, you can find them here. 


Recycle Plastic Packaging For Planting

Each year, over 12 million tonnes of food packaging is wasted and an astounding 75% of this is avoidable. Programmes such as Planet Earth are highlighting the ever-growing plastic problem we are all now part of.

Even for the most conscientious amongst us though, it’s almost impossible at the moment to buy your produce without plastic, but there are ways you can get creative in the garden to put it to good use:

  • Create a bee wall – this great bee wall in Lancashire used 2-litre drinks bottles on their sides with openings cut out of them, as effective vessels for a stunning selection of plants to attract bees and insects.
  • Use plastic bottles as cloches and small plastic bottles as cane toppers.
  • Recycle wherever you can – if you need seed trays or plant pots, don’t go off and buy some – check out your recycling bin. Washed and dried out plastic bottles can make great seed stores too for instance.
  • Ask the children in the family to get creative with their planting – you’ll be amazed at how inventive they are and once the plants have grown, most of the containers are hidden.
  • Create hanging baskets from plastic bottles containing a variety of plants – if you regularly use herbs, for instance, grow your own outside your kitchen window for ease.
  • Create bird or insect feeders like this one from plastic bottles and a pencil. 
  • Contact local gardening groups or allotments to see if they need donations of any sort which your bottles and pots could go to.

Once you’ve started to see just how useful our plastic can be with a little creativity, it makes it easier to get into the habit of noticing how we can re-use it

There are so many ways we can create our own eco-friendly space to enjoy, As you can see, it almost seeps into other areas of our lives too, such as mindfully donating food or materials from our kitchen rather than simply throwing it into landfill.

We’ve loved exploring how this can all come together to help you truly enjoy your garden in as natural a way as possible. 

We often see such beautiful gardens being built by our team working with the creativity of our customers, so it will be useful being able to suggest a variety of ways that the enjoyment and creativity can continue.

The Larch and Cedar we create a bulk of our garden fencing from provides a truly stunning and natural backdrop to gardens regardless of your gardening style. They both complement minimal gardens as well as vibrantly coloured floral displays, so if you’d like any advice on how to create the perfect haven for you, get in touch here and our team would love to help.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this article, our range of composites or simply wish to discuss a possible garden renovation please contact us today on 0845 9011 988.

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