Sustainable Gardens: The Basic Steps

The design of sustainable gardens is closely intertwined with the protection of natural ecosystems.

Sustainable Gardens

Tips for Creating Sustainable Gardens


The design of sustainable gardens is closely intertwined with the protection of natural ecosystems. It utilises creative yet practical garden techniques that do not interfere with the essential processes of nature. An awareness that the environment is our main source of energy and nutrients, is clearly reflected in the elements and practices of sustainable gardening. Here are a few tips for creating sustainable gardens.

Sustainable Gardens: The Basic Steps
The overall design should be in synch with the existing natural features of the landscape, as well as its purpose and function. It is all about reducing energy and material costs, not just from nature, but also in terms of the construction of the garden and distances travelled by imported plant stocks and materials.

1. Prioritise native plants and trees
Since native plants and trees are familiar with the climate and soil type within the local area, they require minimal gardening upkeep in order to survive. This translates to less water and fertilisers. Native plants and trees will also most readily provide food and shelter for the indigenous fauna, helping to provide a balanced ecosystem.

2. Encourage plant growth through companion planting
Companion planting is one of the wonders of nature that is worth checking out. The concept is based on the fact that there are certain species of plants that possess the ability to improve the growth and productivity of nearby plants. This technique has been utilised by farmers and gardeners through the centuries, to benefit healthy vegetable crops and the propagation of more decorative plants. Taking the time to identify the mutually supportive species of plants is therefore well worth the effort.

3. Water harvesting
Water is an important resource in the garden, especially during the dry season. The good news is that there are now different options available to collect and store rainwater. A consultation with a reputable garden designer can produce great ideas that maximise the supply of rainwater to irrigate the landscape. A good example is the incorporation of a sloping patio or sidewalk in the design, to divert the water to a flower bed or tree area. Another option is the use of cisterns and water butts to harvest the rainwater, which will be used later.

4. Use ‘Grey Water’
The term “grey water” refers to recycled water that was used from household activities, such as dishwashing and bathing. Using grey water to irrigate the landscape not only helps alleviate a scarcity in water supply, but it can also significantly reduce the monthly bills. Check out water collection products that can be connected to your household drainage system, to store and recycle your grey water.

5. Recycle waste through composting
It is all about transforming organic wastes into homemade fertilisers. It is a creative way of supplying nutrients to plants without spending too much. Leftover food and vegetable peelings, that are usually thrown away, can be recycled by mixing them with leaves, worms and other organic matter. They should then be stored in a compost bin and left for a period of time. Once the mixture achieves a nutrient rich humus state, it is ready to be added to the garden soil.

6. Light up the garden with solar powered lights
Solar lights are great alternatives to powered varieties. Highlighting the best features of your garden, be they architectural structures or your prize crop of peppers, will be much more affordable with solar powered solutions in the long run. With solar technology in place, these lights do not require batteries or any electricity supply to remain functional. A floating solar powered pool light is always a nice touch to a garden pond.

A smart landscaper should always be on the lookout for proven solutions that can bring in significant savings in terms of finance or resources. When done right, this sustainable approach to gardening harnesses nature’s natural processes and makes them work for you.

About the Author

Julian SandellJulian is passionate about creating beautiful and functional outdoor spaces for clients to enjoy with family and friends and is actively involved with each project, from the initial consultation and design phase, through project management and construction to the final planting and landscape maintenance. From inspiration to installation, Julian and his team will guide you through the process, creating a garden that reflects you, your home and your lifestyle. Follow Julian on Facebook, Twitter and Google+!View all posts by Julian Sandell

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