Plan for the Long Term With a Sustainable Garden

Do what's best for the earth and your yard at the same time, with sustainable gardening. Here, we share tips and tricks for "green"ing your green space.

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Recycled Bottles Used as Decorative Element DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

There is a popular idea that sustainable gardens are rustic in character, but this need not be the case. Many sharp and elegant designs - for example, the benches and wall which repurpose glass bottles into a chic design - include renewable materials, such as wood from certified plantations, and sophisticated planting designs. Local materials are used where possible, reducing the garden's carbon footprint and creating a greater sense of regional identity.

The materials used in a sustainable garden need to be assessed against a series of criteria. Recycled products are a good idea because they reduce the exploitation of new resources, but sometimes they have a large carbon trail in their movement from processing to production. On the other hand, sourcing new wood from managed, renewable and, preferably, local producers may be a better option.

Other factors to consider include the permeability or drainage of hard-landscaped surfaces. These should be either porous, in order to top up groundwater, or designed to allow water to run off into a collection unit, thereby reducing the strain on supplies.

Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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