Your complete guide to eco gardening

Lily Cichanowicz Lily Cichanowicz
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At homify, we’ve dedicated a good deal of time to spreading knowledge about gardening because we feel that a lovely garden can greatly enhance both personal well-being and the aesthetic appeal of your yard. Immersion in nature has been proven to reduce stress and boost both concentration and creativity, leading to a happier, more fulfilled life. 

Considering the very nature of the garden as an almost entirely organic space, it makes the most sense to be ecological in your quest to cultivate the perfect garden in your yard. In doing so, the garden will have a more positive impact on the surrounding environment and on the health of you and your family. If you’re wondering just what exactly separates a conventional garden from an eco-friendly one, you’ve come to the right place! 

No chemicals!

Small urban garden Ruth Willmott Modern style gardens
Ruth Willmott

Small urban garden

Ruth Willmott

First and foremost, one of the most definitive tenets of an eco garden is that no synthetic chemicals are used in its cultivation. Plants are fertilised with organic, non-toxic materials, and no synthetic pesticides or herbicides are involved. 

Instead, eco gardens rely on the use of naturally occurring substances and other age-old strategies for plant care. This form of gardening will help you to tune into the natural rhythms of your environment and to work more harmoniously with the earth. 

The result? A garden space that doesn’t create harmful run-off or other pollutants within the surrounding environment. The garden becomes friendlier for local wildlife and safer for you, your family, and your pets. What’s not to love about that?

Choose hedges over fences

Topiary Spheres and a funky hedge Niwaki Eclectic style gardens
Niwaki

Topiary Spheres and a funky hedge

Niwaki

The next way to shift your garden towards better ecology is to opt for hedges over fences. This is because these natural barriers don’t require the use or fabrication of materials such as wood, metal, or other synthetics. Plus, they are almost always more aesthetically pleasing in the garden due to their natural, green appearance.

There are a multitude of different types of hedges to choose from as well, so you’re bound to find a variety that suits your tastes and budget. You can trim your hedges in many shapes and sizes—just take a look at this lovely estate by Niwaki for proof! Some common techniques to employ in incorporating the hedges into your garden are to choose shapes and styles that either blend well with the existing plants or create a strong contrast between them.

Put in a pond

landscape garden with ponds for koi- nature rich garden in The Netherlands- landschappelijke tuin met koi vijvers-natuurrijke tuin met koi. FLORERA , design and realisation gardens and other outdoor spaces. Country style gardens
FLORERA , design and realisation gardens and other outdoor spaces.

landscape garden with ponds for koi- nature rich garden in The Netherlands- landschappelijke tuin met koi vijvers-natuurrijke tuin met koi.

FLORERA , design and realisation gardens and other outdoor spaces.

Adding a pond is great for creating a more serene, contemplative atmosphere, but it also has an integral role to play in a truly eco-friendly garden. A pond will help to attract wildlife to your yard because of the standing water, which promotes the growth of certain plants and invites captivating fauna to feed on the insects that make the water their home. 

The inclusion of a pond will also help to make your yard and even your home cooler, which makes this an excellent option for those living in warmer climates. Line the pond with some lovely local plants to complete the look. If your yard isn’t large enough to accommodate a pond like the one featured here, you can reap many of the same benefits by adding a small fountain or birdbath to the space.

Grow local

Topiary and Cloud Pruning in an English Country Garden Niwaki Eclectic style gardens
Niwaki

Topiary and Cloud Pruning in an English Country Garden

Niwaki

As you may have noticed, we made a point of advising you to choose local plants for surrounding your pond. We would like to take a moment to emphasise that cultivating as many local plants as possible in your garden is the ideal way to make the area more ecological. 

Introducing foreign plant specimens to the existing natural environment of your residence can greatly disrupt the pre-existing delicate natural ecology. It can disrupt the balance of plant growth and pollination and confuse the diets of local wildlife. Familiarising yourself with the local flora can be a great exercise in connecting with the natural world of your locale. In general, these plants are also far more likely to thrive in your climate than foreign ones are.

Commence the composting!

Pull out waste bins Urban Myth KitchenStorage
Urban Myth

Pull out waste bins

Urban Myth

In order to engage in a more active relationship with your natural surroundings, we recommend you begin composting. Using your kitchen food waste to enrich the soil in your garden can have tremendous benefits to plant growth whilst also helping to cut down on your family’s contribution to landfill waste. 

It can be a bit of an adjustment at first, but purchasing a trash divider like this one for your kitchen can make composting—and recycling for that matter—much easier. Transferring the daily or weekly collection of compostable kitchen waste to a larger, airtight composting bin outside will also help to facilitate the decomposition process of these nutrient rich materials. 

Once the materials have decomposed a bit and have started to produce moisture you can introduce them to the soil in your garden and begin reaping the benefits in the form of enhanced vegetable and plant growth.

Cultivate your very own vegetable garden

One of the best applications for your composted materials is to use them to cultivate home grown vegetables. As our food systems become increasingly more complex, it can be very difficult to find quality produce without breaking the bank. 

Learning to grow your own seasonal veggies is a wonderful skill that will allow you to feed your family more nourishing meals fostered from a strengthened connection with the earth. Of course, it’s best to do a bit of research about the needs of your favourite veggies. Depending on your local climate and season, certain things will naturally grow better. 

This is a great chance to help engage the family with nature and to employ good old fashioned trial and error. You have little to lose! Try sectioning off certain areas in the garden for growing the different types of vegetables. This yard will give you a good visual for getting started.

indoor herb garden

Last but not least, go eco with an indoor herb garden. If the idea of cultivating your own vegetable garden is appealing but you are limited on space and time, you can shrink the idea without sacrificing flavour or nutrition. 

Having fresh herbs on hand will enhance any dish. Some common herbs you can try growing include thyme, basil, mint, cilantro, parsley, and oregano. You may wish to start small by keeping the plants on hand in the kitchen like we can see in this example. Once the plants grow larger however, you can always move them outside to plant them in the yard. Just remember to follow the same chemical restrictions as you would for any other plant in your eco garden.

If you'd like more simple tips about attracting wildlife to your garden through best practices in ecology, check out this guide.

What eco-friendly strategies have worked best for you? Let us know in the comments section below! 

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