One of the basic principles of green building is to respect site conditions and design accordingly. The same is true of gardening and landscaping .
A garden may seem to be the epitome of nature in microcosm, but all too often it is a far from natural place.
The use of chemicals, such as pesticides, fertilizers and weedkillers, often in higher concentrations than are commonly used on food crops, damage the environment and human health. Exotic plants and specimens imported from halfway around the world occupy valuable space in flowerbeds and greenhouses and require intensive nurturing. Power-hungry tools and appliances are employed for general maintenance and upkeep. And the predominance of the lawn turns what could be a rich and diverse habitat into a virtual monoculture .
Eco gardening means working with nature, rather than against it. It also means productive gardening
growing plants that support native wildlife and provide fresh food for the tablo. Rather than impose an alien ideal on your garden, you should design and plant according to the specifics of the site: the type of soil, the amount of rainfall, the prevailing winds and the temperature range. Choosing native plants that are adapted to local conditions means less intervention will be required in the form of irrigation and pest and disease control.
Many gardens are defined by sweeping expanses of kvc en in crowded urban areas, where gardens can be the Ev size of a pocket handkerchief, a lawn bordered b fowerbeds is still a typical arrangement. But most of your garden area to what is essentially one type of planting reduces biodiversity and entails unnecesari high levels of upkeep in the form of watering and regular mowing. A lawnmower that runs on petrol generates the same amount of pollution in an hour as a car that is driven
558 km (347 miles) .
In small gardens, there is a good argument for doing without lawns altogether and increasing the size of beds for growing shrubs, flowers, fruit and vegetables. If you have a larger garden and want to keep part of it grassed, consider using a push- or hand-mower instead of a petrol-driven or electric one. Choose grass varieties that are naturally hardy, root out weeds by hand rather than apply weedkiller and dress with natural fertilizers. Grass is one of the great survivors- if your turf dries out in hot weather and shows bare patches, don’t rush to turn on the sprinkler. Instcad, wait until rainier weather brings natural regrowth. Leave glass clippings on the lawn rather than rake them up alternatively, add them to your compost .
The most eco-friendly lawn is the meadow. Lawns that are allowed to go over into meadows only neced to be a cut once a year and will attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators. A meadow sown with a mixture of native wild-flower seeds is a glorious place.
Hot, dry climates pose particular gardening challenges Xeriscaping is a relatively new term for an old
land management that involves conserving water and growing native drought-tolerant species rather than thirsty imports. This approach to eco gardening is growing in popularity in dry regions of the western and southern United States and is also well established in Australia.
practice of Choice of species is a key consideration. Native plants that have evolved to cope with low rainfall require little additional irrigation. Other xeriscaping strategies include improving the soil with compost, mulch and organic matter to increase water retention, terracing the site so that water does not run off causing soil erosion, and grouping plants with similar needs.
Planting can help to regulate interior temperatures in hot climates. Screens of trees and shrubs provide shade, filter light and break the strength of the sun.
Some plants that thrive in dry locations need a free- draining soil so that they do not become waterlogged when it rains. Digging in organic matter and grit can help to promote drainage.
In temperate zones, as winters become milder and summers hotter and drier, it can be a good idea to increase the numbers of plants in your garden that are tolerant of dry conditions. Common examples include lavender, rosemary, sedum and cistus .
Using chemicals to control pests upsets the natural balance by eradicating the food source of animal, bird and insect predators. Eco gardening means encouraging wildlife to control the pests for your birds such as bluetits, which will feed on aphids; frogs and toads, which feed on slugs and snails; and predatory insects such as ladybirds, hoverflies and lacewings. One way of doing this is to plant species that attract them- for example, nectar-producing plants for butterflies and bees; fennel, calendula and dill for hoverflies .
Another is to provide bird and bat boxes, ponds and other nesting sites. Hedgehogs, which prey on slugs and snails, will make their home at the bottom of a woodpile. Many green gardening specialists offer a number of feeders and houses for attracting both insects and birds .
When nature needs a helping hand, there are other options aside from chemical treatments. Barriers and traps can be used to prevent slugs and snails from nibbling on your plants. Nematodes, which are microscopic threadworms that attack slugs, can be bought from green garden suppliers. Alternatively, you can pick off larvae, slugs and snails by hand, and remove any leaves blotched with blackspot.
A solution of soap and water sprayed onto roses will deter aphids.
Companion planting is a tried and tested method of natural pest control. Some plants naturally emit scents that deter pests; other combinations of plants provide nutrients for each other. Beans, for example, fix nit so should be grown in rotation before nitrogen-hun crops such as potatoes and carrots. Good pest-control nitrogen in the soil .