SUMMARY OF ALTERNATIVES
– You can source recycled wood for raised beds and small retaining walls.
– Used pallets can be used for building compost bins
– Before you use oak, rainforest hardwoods and plastic compost woods, you can ask yourself how many years realistically you want your garden to last. More sustainable pine can be repaired or replaced over the years.
– All wood becomes silver in appearance over time and looks very similar.
– FSC-certified wood has a better chance of being sustainably grown.
– A natural pond is a haven for wildlife especially with the increasingly dry summers we are experiencing.
– You can create a rain garden that creates an attractive wildlife area as well as filtering heavy metals from runoff water. A rain garden also releases the pressure on urban sewage systems and allows you to grow unusual moisture-loving plants.
– Choosing drought-tolerant plants will limit the need for watering the garden.
– In drought conditions, allowing your lawn to go brown generally won’t damage the lawn but will save water and limit the need for more reservoirs to be built.
– Waterbutts collecting water from rooves and greenhouses saves water.
– A thick mulch over the planting beds retains water and keeps down weeds.
– Recycled concrete can be used as an alternative to new M.O.T. (the foundation of paths, patios, and artificial turf).
– Permeable paving allows water to drain through the paving and into the water table rather than running off into the streets and the sewage system.
– Used bricks can be cleaned up and reused.
– Bark paths with wooden edges can be installed rather than paved paths with concrete foundations.
– You can source local materials such as stone, brick, shingle, and soil reducing the environmental impact of transportation.
Soil and Compost
– Reducing compaction of the soil helps microorganisms thrive in the soil.
– You can choose peat-free alternatives.
– You can compost the kitchen waste, lawn clipping, and leaves
– Burning waste creates more CO2 and pollution than composting.
-A compost heap also creates an environment for fungi and other mushrooms.
– If you cut your lawn at a higher level that will give the soil more shade and reduce evaporation, keeping the lawn greener in Summer.
– You don’t have to have mown lawn to create a sense of spaciousness in your garden. You can convert your lawn into a sword of ornamental grass that doesn’t need watering or regular mowing.
– You can plant ground-hugging plants to create a simple interesting stretch of green.
– You can create a wildflower meadow or simply leave the grass to grow and cut paths through it.
– Planting a variety of plants and trees can support wildlife, filter the air of CO2, prevent soil erosion, and create shade.
– You can combine plants in a way that can benefit both the soil and keep down insects.
– Crop rotation in your vegetable garden can limit the need for pesticides.
– There are numerous organic ways to reduce pests in the garden.
– You can embrace the fact that your garden plants also have an important role in feeding insects and birds.
– Areas in the garden can be left to become wild creating protective spaces for vulnerable animals and insects.
– You can create bug hotels and leave piles of leaves in the winter for hibernating animals and insects.
– Second-hand garden furniture can be easily sourced.
– You can look for the FSC certificate which means the wood, as far as possible, has been grown in a sustainable way.
– You can put pressure on local nurseries to supply plants in biodegradable pots.
– Hedges can be planted as an alternative to walls with all the benefits plants bring to the environment.
– Gabions can be filled with local stone avoiding the use of concrete.
– Rather than building retaining walls, earth banks can be used and designed with wildlife-friendly plants.
– You can use metal or twine to tie up plants and tomatoes rather than plastic.
– With any garden products check with your nursery whether they have been produced in a sustainable way.