A Tale of Two Sustainable Gardens

Interested in making your garden sustainable but don't quite know how to do it? Take some tips from two experts who practice what they preach right in their own backyards.

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Using varied planting in sustainable gardens need not make them chaotic. One way to keep planting and other elements in some order is to define your garden's structure when planning you garden, and stick to it closely when installing your vision. The examples shown here are held together with well-defined lines and shapes. They also include water, which provides an important wildlife habitat, and permeable hard-landscaping surfaces.

The Fresh Beauty of Varied Greens

This small garden sits on a north-facing slope.

Professor of horticulture and designer-owner Dunnett says:
"I wanted to create a woodland glade, with closely planted birch forming a light canopy and linking with the surrounding countryside. Clipped hornbeam hedges provide enclosure and structure alongside softer successional planting."

"Perennials form a dense groundcover, almost eliminating the need for weeding. The planting is 50 percent natives and 50 percent cultivated garden plants — together they give almost year-round color."

"The shed dictated the layout, but I like to work with compartments, which create a sense of discovery. The pond is filled with run-off from the paved surfaces — the bridge and the water have been a huge success."

Diverse Woodland GardenEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Key Ingredients

Marsh spurge(image 1); Wood cranesbill (image 2); Woodbine honeysuckle (image 3); Green roof (image 4)

Secondary Participants

Burning bush (image 1); Purple lance astilbe (image 2); Marsh marigold> (image 3); Sweet flag(image 4)

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Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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