Making your garden or outdoor space more eco friendly is something many people are looking at doing. As we all take stock on the impact we are having on the world around us, making small changes in how you live your life will help to reduce your carbon footprint and lower your impact in the hopes of leaving a better world for future generations.
What is your carbon footprint?
Your carbon footprint is the number of greenhouse gases that are generated by individuals activities. This is from how the products you buy are made, how you choose to table, the food you eat and the waste you produce too amongst other things. In the US, for example, the approximate carbon footprint of each person is 16 tonnes making it one of the highest numbers in the world.
But what can you reasonably do to offset this number and become more aware of the impact your day to day habits have on the environment?
There are many small changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint. Making changes to your outdoor space will be just as significant as, say, forgoing using your car in favour of public transport. In this way, you can generate a more habitable environment for local wildlife and also learn new habits yourself.
Recycle and Reuse
The main way you can lower the impact of renovating your garden space will have it so try and use as many preloved and recycled products as possible. From buying recycled plastic garden furniture to using second-hand pots and accessories by choosing to shop in thrift stores and use pre-loved sites to source what you need. This is a way that is not only kinder to the environment but also your bank balance too.
Look online for upcycling tutorials to help you repurpose old items from around the home you no longer need and look for ways you can utilise them as something else outside.
Not everyone has the space to plant a tree however there are many benefits to adding trees to your garden if you can. Not only do they convert carbon dioxide to oxygen during the process of turning it into wood, but they can also be more attractive to local wildlife if you are choosing to have this as a feature in your garden. Trees are also a natural way of adding shade to your garden and increasing privacy from neighbours too. They also make perfect places to sit and read and ponder your life. What more could you ask for!
Encourage local wildlife to your garden by creating little homes or shelters for them using reclaimed wood or recycled materials. If you have children, this is a great activity for them to get involved in and a great teaching moment too. Birdhouses and tables are great options for higher or raised features around your garden. But a hedgehog house needs to be on the ground and easily accessible for any prickly visitors you may get. A bright butterfly tower amidst all your brightly coloured plants will be an instant hit with winged visitors attracted to your garden.
Every drop of water you can save is worth it for the impact it has on the environment. From installing water butts on downpipes to a rain tank if you have the room, conserving as much water as possible is better for you, your home and the environment. Use dishwater to flush toilets around the home or pour into a water tank for watering flowers and plants.
This water can then be boiled for use around the home or used straight into the garden to water plants, wash down furniture, planters, ornaments etc.
Nothing screams more self-sufficient than being able to grow your own food. Create a small space in your garden that has the right type of soil and ground to start your own vegetable patch. Start small with easy to grow options such as tomatoes and carrots which are hardier and still grow in even when tended to by complete beginners. Once you get your green-fingered qualifications to move onto more veggies and even fruits and herbs. In fact, herbs can be grown all year round in little pots on your window ledge. Keep them properly hydrated and in sunlight to have your own supply of herbs ready for when you need them.
This is possibly one of the most important changes you can make. It can be tempting to reach for the chemicals and even though they may be deemed fit for use, the chemical used still can cause damage to the environment over the years
There are many non-chemical ways to help you to rid your garden of unwanted pests. For example; use a jet wash or high powered water sprayer to remove insects from plants such as greenfly. Manually pick off caterpillars from leaves and move them to a different part of your garden. Finding alternative resources than using chemicals to remove unwanted pests will benefit you, your garden and the environment too.
The best thing about making more eco-friendly changes to your garden is that you can start small and build up to it over time. Many of the resources and materials you need can be sourced for lower costs than buying new store-bought or even free from donations others no longer want.
When it comes to growing plants and attracting wildlife to your garden make sure you are using appropriate measures to keep pests at bay.
A great way to improve how eco-friendly your garden is to let it grow naturally to attract local insects and wildlife. Fill your garden with native wildflowers or flowers indigenous to your local area. As well as being better for the environment as they will have travelled fewer miles to your home they also require less upkeep and are easier to keep alive with the use of fewer chemicals too.0