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Sustainability is more important than ever before. Over the past five years, people have increasingly made changes to reduce their impact on the environment and take an eco-conscious approach to their homes and gardens. But there is always room for improvement when it comes to being environmentally friendly. From opting for sustainable furnishing, such as cast aluminium garden furniture, through to adopting new planting habits, here are some innovative top tips for creating a truly sustainable garden.
1. Consider your paving
There are several issues to consider when it comes to choosing sustainable paving for your patio or terrace. But, first and foremost, it is essential for the paving to protect the environment, rather than harm it. The best way to do this is to use permeable blocks or bricks. Non-porous asphalt is very likely to produce polluted run-off which can run into drainage systems, then into rivers and seas. Using porous options, such as gravel or brick, will dramatically reduce the pollution produced by your property.
2. Opt for sustainable garden furniture
Choosing elegant and durable outdoor furniture is an obvious consideration when furnishing your patio. However, ensuring that you opt for furniture that also has minimal impact on the environment is equally as important. There are a huge range of materials to choose from. Wood and stone are often considered to be sustainable, but they each come with their challenges. For example, wood isn’t very weather resistant, meaning it needs replacing regularly. Plus, using woods like teak for outdoor furniture also raises ethical concerns related to deforestation. Similarly, the quarrying of stone can negatively impact the environment by ruining habitats for flora and fauna and accelerating soil erosion.
Cast aluminium garden furniture, on the other hand, is an incredibly sustainable solution for garden furniture. It is both 100 percent recyclable and long-lasting, meaning it won’t need replacing like its wood or plastic counterparts. In fact, 75 percent of all the world’s mined aluminium is still in use, making it a great material for your sustainable garden furniture. Plus, because it doesn’t wear in adverse weather conditions, it is very low maintenance.
3. Utilise solar
Great outdoor lighting is essential for creating ambiance and guiding visitors around the different zones of your garden. Switching to solar lights in all areas of your garden is a fantastic way to reduce your energy usage without compromising on the effect. Plus, solar powered lights often need lower maintenance than electric lights. Similarly, using solar pumps for ponds and water features will reduce electricity usage, thus improving your garden’s carbon footprint.
4. Conserve water
We all know that unnecessary water consumption is not only wasteful but also has a significant impact on the environment. In fact, gardening accounts for up to 70 percent of the UK’s water consumption when demand peaks in the summer. Despite this, many of us could inadvertently still be using more water than we need. One simple way to reduce water is to check and fix leaking taps or dripping hoses around your garden. You can also use rainwater collected from gutters and down pipes.
When it comes to watering your garden, swapping to a hosepipe with a trigger, rather than sprinkler system, will drastically reduce your water usage over time. You can also minimise the amount of water needed by treating your soil with products that are proven to retain moisture. For example, products that contain biochar, a high-carbon form of charcoal, are proven to increase water-holding capacity by up to 22 percent, meaning your plants will need watering less frequently.
5. Grow your own
Growing your own product is not only fun for all the family but is also a great way to reduce your personal carbon footprint. Opting to grow fruit and vegetables that are usually imported from overseas saves on the environmental cost of shipping. Growing your food at home will reduce your reliance on products that include plastic packaging.
6. Repurpose your rubbish
Reusing the packaging from those food items that do still use plastic, such as yoghurt pots and milk cartons, is another good way to reduce your plastic waste. Sturdy packaging is great for germinating seedling and, if well-maintained, can last for several seasons. Plastic bottles can be fashioned to use as drip irrigation, seed trays and even plant labels, whilst pots can be used as scoops.
7. Avoid peat
Peat is a depleting resource that wildlife and habitats rely on, so it is vital that we all continue to reduce our reliance on peat-based gardening products. One easy way to avoid peat is to create your own compost at home. Using recycled food and natural waste to create organic fertiliser leaves you with healthy soil, while supporting the wider environment and reducing the amount of waste that needs to be transported from your home.
For more advice on making the most of your garden, read our top tips on how to recreate this summer’s most popular garden trends.