As green issues and environmental concerns become more important and widely recognised, a lot of people are asking what can be done within their own homes and gardens in order to make them eco-friendly. There are lots of things that you can incorporate into your garden to reduce its negative environmental impact and other measures you can take to create a positive difference for wildlife in your area.
How can I make my garden wildlife friendly?
Building birdbaths, bird feeders and bird boxes in your garden can help encourage birds and keep them fed in the winter months. Birds in the garden will also reduce the need for chemical pesticides as they eat caterpillars and greenfly. A bird feeder can easily be made using an old plastic bottle with bird seed held inside and then a hole large enough for the bird to fit through or you could make your own fat feeder by rolling lard and seed into a ball and putting it into a mesh bag. If you have the space in your garden why not build a pond? Even the smallest pond will provide a great feature and be a haven for toads, frogs and newts. If you have children this also allows them to see the frog lifecycle first hand, ponds are easy to make and install and require little maintenance but avoid planting reeds in and around the pond as they will spread and take over.
How can I make my garden energy sustainable?
There are things you can consider installing that will not only make your garden more sustainable but your whole house. For example have you considered building an air source heat pump, ground source heat pump or solar panels in your garden? These can all help provide hot water for your property’s needs. You could also look at a hydro power, solar electricity or a small free standing wind turbine to generate electricity in your garden which can then be channeled to the house. Collecting rainwater from your roof in a rainwater collection system can reduce your water consumption and fulfill your garden’s water needs.
How can I use my garden to reduce the amount of waste I produce?
The garden will also be the place to keep your very own compost bin. Compost bins are a great way of disposing of food scraps and organic waste without sending them to landfill. Allowing these to biodegrade in the home not only saves landfill space but reduces the amount of harmful methane that is produced – a bi-product of organic material biodegrading in air-starved conditions. The compost that is produced can then be used in your flower beds. If you have space you should also consider growing your own herbs, vegetables and fruit. Not only is the taste of home-grown produce incomparable, but you will save money on your shopping bills and reduce your carbon footprint and waste production by avoiding the packaging and transport environmental cost associated with the food industry.
What eco-friendly pesticides can I use in my garden?
Pesticides release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere and because of the nature of application they can harm more than just the intended target. There are home-recipes though that you can use to get rid of your insect infestations, not only are these cheap and easy to make but they won’t harm the environment. For fungus problems on plants use a baking soda solution or a half water half milk solution, the alkali solution will kill the fungus but be too weak to harm the plant. To kill slugs a small dish of beer placed in the garden will attract slugs and snails who will subsequently drown. For plants suffering from an aphid infestation, spray on a rhubarb or elderflower tea solution.
The garden is a great place to help make your property more environmentally friendly, you can incorporate energy producing measures that will cut down your heating and electricity bills, or collect rainwater to reduce your water usage. When considering what flowers to plant, think about what will attract bees and butterflies into your garden and support local wildlife by hanging bird feeders and building a small pond.