Residents across the UK are beginning to change their habits. Single-use plastics are disappearing, reusable coffee cups are commonplace, and our home recycling regime is more complex than ever. These changes are a step in the right direction but many still neglect the part of their life that can make a significant, perhaps even the most, difference to their household’s carbon footprint. This is the humble garden.
With considered design and, in some cases, the support of outdoor assets, even the smallest garden space can help to offset a home’s carbon consumption, support local wildlife, and restore the quality of life (and soil) our garden can bring to the neighbourhood. To show you how, we’ve put together the best garden designs, those that you can affordably and realistically achieve, which can make the world a better place.
Food waste is one of the home’s biggest contributors to our changing climate. To grow, transport, and cook food takes a considerable amount of carbon and, if this ends up thrown away, it becomes a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. This is why composting should be an essential part of our garden design.
Setting up your own compost bin has a learning curve and it can take a few weeks to get going but, once it has been established, you will be able to dispose of your food waste without guilt, knowing that its carbon will be returned to the soil. Then, for those growing plants or vegetables, the compost can be used to enrich your crops with nutrients!
Your garden has the potential for energy saving and, as a result, money-saving too. Garden sheds, for example, can become host to solar panels that, in turn, power your home (or part of it) with sustainable energy, simultaneously reducing your energy bills too.
Additionally, as panels become both more compact and efficient, a number of residents are installing them upon their balconies. These panels might not have the same potential energy savings as those installed on outbuildings, but they can still power an apartments lighting system and electronic devices.
The plants that appear in our gardens, even when we don’t want them there, can often play a significant role in our local ecology. When wildflowers appear in our garden, often referred to as weeds, we can be inclined to pick them, cut them back, or even use chemicals to ensure their permanent removal. This, however, prevents wildlife, particularly pollinating insects, from thriving since they rely upon these plants for food.
If you remain conservative about your garden design and couldn’t face the possibility of a dandelion enjoying your lawn, there are still many ways in which you can host a thriving landscape by simply choosing the most aromatic and colourful plants you can, those that will bring vitality to nature.
Our gardens are also the potential refuge of many important animals, such as birds and hedgehogs. These animals, aside from being generally characterful, play important roles in our environment and should be allowed to prosper. By building small homes for them, whether a birdbox or a hedgehog nest, we can allow them to thrive.