What do you think of when you hear the phrase “eco-friendly garden”? If your brain conjures up images of flies buzzing over compost piles and words like ‘mulch’ and ‘manure’, then you’re probably in the majority. Not exactly glamorous, but it doesn’t have to be like that.
Discover how you can give your garden an eco-friendly makeover that looks stunning and is still the envy of the neighbours.
1) The Great Escape
Your garden is a great place to escape, get some peace and quiet away from beeping machines and screens of all shapes and sizes. Somewhere, in a shaded spot, will be the perfect place to read or daydream.
There are plenty of sustainable or recycled products that don’t look like they’ve been plaited together from old rope. Finding a stylish hammock or garden seat that is also eco-friendly is easy nowadays; it just requires looking in the right places. Trying searching for luxury sustainable furniture and see what turns up.
2) Lighting Doesn’t Have To Mean Electricity
Outside lighting can really transform your garden and turn it into an elegant space for al fresco dining and entertaining. Using alternatives to electric lights will have the same effect but without the nagging guilt that you’re destroying the earth for the sake of your evening gatherings.
You’re outside so use the sun. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Solar lanterns will soak up the power during the day and can be used as the sun goes down. They come in many forms, from traditional to contemporary, stainless steel to paper, so you’re bound to find something that will match your taste and style.
There’s nothing like candles to create an amazing atmosphere and this holds true outside as well. I love this chandelier idea that will bring a touch of class to your dinner parties, but there are also lots of stylish tea-light holders that will help protect flames from the wind. Just make sure to swap your paraffin wax candles for soy or beeswax and you’re good to go!
All this, without the fuss and unsightly mess that wires can cause.
3) Attracting Wildlife Doesn’t Have To Be Wild
First there was the news that all the bees were dying, then Richard Attenborough telling us in his dulcet tones that more than half of the UK’s plant and animals are dying out. It’s time for action!
Making your garden attractive to wildlife doesn’t mean rats in the bins or foxes digging up your vegetable patch, it will just help to make your outside space vibrant and alive. Attracting birds and butterflies will make your garden the envy of all around, while you can be proud that you’re doing your bit for the animal kingdom. You can select specific plants to attract pollinators, which will turn your garden into a picture of fluttering beauty.
The style of a dovecote has much more class than an ordinary bird table and can be turned into an elegant garden feature, while a pond will be a haven for aquatic plants.
4) Plant Things
There has been a trend over the past decade to have gardens that looked anything but; replacing grass with gravel and plants with water features made of piles of rocks.
But nothing looks more glamorous than the vivid colours and smells of a range of plants. They aren’t just a tasteful addition, they’re also good for your wellbeing, and the Earth. Good ol’ plants.
A vegetable garden is an obvious choice and you can finally see what Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been going on about. Although they require some upkeep, it’s worth it when you can delight your family and friends with fresh salad at your BBQs. It doesn’t have to boring lines of cabbages, planting a selection of fruits, vegetable and plants will make it look stunning.
5) An Exotic Beauty
But plants don’t have to be what you’d expect.
Introduce some exotic colours to your garden with hardy tropicals. These are exotic plants that can withstand the cooler temperatures of more northern climates. Some may need to be grown indoors but that doesn’t mean they have to be too far inside. Why not transform a sun-room so it blends into both your house and your garden. Vines look lovely draped from the ceiling but there are a whole range of plants that will make it look and smell incredible.
A period orangery made with sustainable materials and filled with orchids is at the top of my wish list. A girl can dream.
You can only be truly garden-proud if it’s both beautiful and sustainable. But hopefully I’ve convinced you that you don’t need to sacrifice style for sustainability.
Do you have an eco-friendly garden? Share your hints and tips below!