There is no shortage of information and advice out there aimed at keeping our homes as green as they can possibly be – and with good reason, as an energy-efficient home is the best gift any of us can give Mother Earth. Something that might surprise you, in light of this focus on the environment, is the comparable lack of useful tips designed to make sure our gardens are as green as they can be.
Keeping your garden green isn’t just about planting things that will grow in that colour – although that’s certainly a step worth taking. What a lot of people don’t know is that the techniques you use in your garden are sure to have an impact on the planet for better or worse. If you follow the tips below, the good news is that this impact will be “better”.
1. The greenest pesticide is no pesticide at all
Flies and mosquitoes are an irritant, make no mistake about it, and it can be tempting to use some of the more benign pesticides to reduce their numbers. However, using pesticide at all has much the same effect as carpet-bombing; it’s indiscriminate, and while it gets rid of the annoying interlopers it will also harm bees, whose pollination plays such a key part in the best gardens. Instead, plant daisies, asters and zinnias; these attract more bees, who also do a fine job of pest control.
2. Say “no” to lawns
It’s a little-known fact that lawns did not truly exist in the UK until approximately the 17th Century, when they started appearing as a status symbol. The message was that if you could afford to have land and not need to grow or farm anything on it, you had made it. Think about it – lawns serve precisely no useful purpose, they take endless watering, and they take up space that could be used to grow food. To keep that pristine, manicured, green lawn requires the waste of water and land, and the use of unnecessary chemicals. Not very green at all, in other words.
3. Get into composting
Every once in a while you’ll need to carry out a garden clearance and get rid of some of what has accumulated in your yard by calling for a rubbish removal and opening up space in your garden. But once you’ve got rid of the genuine rubbish, you’ll be surprised how much use you can get from things that just naturally occur. You can use decomposing food to create a compost pile, as well as turning leaf-fall into mulch that will save water in your soil.
4. Plant a tree
There are plenty of good reasons to have a tree in your garden – with perhaps the primary one being that it makes your space attractive to wildlife, which is great news from a conservation point of view. There’s also the fact that trees offer excellent defence against flooding and noise pollution and, no less importantly, they absorb a huge amount of carbon. We need a lot more trees in the world to keep crisis at bay; why not start in your garden?
This is a collaborative post.