Make Beauty Last With Sustainable Gardening

Make your garden stand out from others with sustainable gardening. "Green" isn't just about taking good care of the earth; it's a gorgeous aesthetic in its own right. Here, we show you how to use principles of sustainability in your garden.

Excerpted from Garden Design
Sustainable Garden is Wildlife Haven Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Wildlife Haven

Planting is key for sustainable gardening. Choose plants that thrive in local conditions and complement each other; doing so will help reduce the likelihood of pests and diseases.

This sustainable garden supports and protects its precious resources, such as water and wildlife, by hosting a range of habitats, including a pile of decaying logs and tree stumps to provide homes for rare beetles, small mammals and frogs and toads. The cabin is made of sustainably-sourced cedar and features a \"living\" green roof covered in stonecrops. The gravel path that weaves through the garden allows visitors to enjoy its features at close view without interrupting them. It ties the home and landscape together perfectly while also directing rain runoff into nearby plantings, which reduces dependence on municipal water.

Sedum Mats on Green Roof Manage Rainwater Run Off Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Green Roofs

Green roof systems are good for the environment and the wallet. They put rainwater run-off to good use and provide insulation, saving you a different kind of \"green\" in reduced utility bills. They also attract beneficial insects when in bloom. Convert existing roofs using pre-planted seed mats. New structures can accommodate more elaborate rooftop habitats.

Effective Wildlife Habitats Come From Diversity Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Encouraging Wildlife

Planting to attract wildlife is an easy way to increase your garden's diversity and organic appeal. Add little habitats here and there, such as old logs and insect-friendly planting. You could even make a bee hotel and invite these precious pollinators to stay for a while.

Water Barrels Catch and Store Rainwater in Garden Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Rainwater Harvesting

However small, water barrels are an excellent way to catch and store rainwater. If you need something with a larger capacity, underground storage and pump mechanisms, typically installed by a contractor, are the way to go.

Rustic Garden Bench Made by Local Craftsman Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Rustic Garden Furniture

You'll need to think about the materials you use in your sustainable garden. Recycled products are good, in theory, but the carbon emissions required to recycle them often outweighs their seeming benefit. Purchasing new products made from sustainably-harvested wood may actually be a better option, especially if the product was made by a local craftsperson who can customize it to be a one-of-a-kind perfect fit for your design.

Recycling Organic Waste Through Composting Vital Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Recycling Features

Recycle organic waste by composting, if you can. You may need more than one bin to maintain and rotate the supply. Think carefully about their location and whether you have the time to give them; composting requires regular attention.

Wildlife Ponds Offer Natural Habitat for Creatures Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Naturalistic Ponds

Wildlife ponds with sloping sides and marginal plantings offer a natural habitat for aquatic creatures, as well as birds and insects.

Pond Margins Include Waterside Habitat Plantings Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Wonderful Wetlands

A sustainable garden can follow a formal layout, but most are informal, with relaxed planting drifts and seemingly random mixes of grasses and perennials, indigenous trees and shrubs. To bring some organization to the organic free-flow, section off areas into habitats, such as wetland, meadow or woodland.

Pond margins provide one of the richest garden habitats, bringing together aquatic, marginal, moisture-loving and dry planting designs. Keep planting groups large and mixtures simple for the best results.

Bird Feeders Attract Wildlife During Harsh Winters Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Bird Haven

Feeders and bird baths will help attract wildlife, especially during harsh winters when food sources may be scarce.

Match Plant with Environment for Successful Meadow Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Ideal Match

It's especially important to match planting to the environment in meadows. Here, checkerd lilies nod their elegant heads toward the dampness at their feet.

Prairie Plantings Should Display Long Season Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Lasting Interest

Let wildflowers bloom where they're sown by spreading mixes, some of which include grasses for textural interest and herbs for delicious scents.

Sheltered Woodpile Creates Habitat for Insects Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Safe Habitat

A simple wood structure provides dry storage for logs, an important habitat for hibernating insects.

Native Plants in Meadow Grasses Aids Conservation Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Mixed Species

Allowing native plants to run wild in meadow grasses brings visual interest and helps to conserve endangered species.

Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Advertisement will not be printed