Sustainable Garden Design
Creating a sustainable garden can help increase biodiversity, provide an eco friendly solution to flora and fauna whilst maintaining a visually stunning wow factor. When planning a garden design there are a number of ways to plan ahead and build sustainability in from the outset.
The average house sheds 45,000 litres of rainwater a year so conserving and reusing is one of the most eco-friendly ways you can help the environment and your garden too. Landscaping with permeable surfaces allows water to seep into the ground to aid filtration and slow the flow into drains and waterways, reducing localised flooding which can affect wildlife significantly. Permeable surfacing can be designed to direct the runoff to nearby flowering borders or bedding. Crunchy gravel and slate chippings or mulch are permeable alternatives to solid paving whilst also adding a softer element in to hard landscaping. Other permeable materials include porous asphalt, block paving which allows water in to the ground below and can also prevent subsidence problems.
Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) mimic the natural effect of drainage systems, temporarily storing rainwater close to where it falls, then slowly releasing either back to the piped network or allowing it to infiltrate in to the ground. SuDS are environmentally beneficial as they cause no long term detrimental damage, provide a more sustainable drainage system and manage runoff volume and flow rate reducing flooding.
Green roofs look magnificent in any garden design and provide a sustainable solution through being ecologically, environmentally, financially and energy efficient. They help manage storm water, provide insulation as well as the development of habitats for birds and other urban creatures. Several different living mats are available which can be rolled on to a gently sloping roof with a range of planting varieties embedded in to the mat, including hardy varieties of grasses and beautiful wildflowers. Sedum blankets are commonly used increasing biodiversity and look aesthetically wonderful in any garden design. Underneath the living mat are several layers including waterproof membrane and levels for drainage, insulation and filtering.
Sustainability is all about reuse and recycle, not just for composting and creating your own nutrient rich soil (although of course you should do this too!). Careful consideration of the materials used in a sustainable garden design will ensure timber used for decking is sustainable. In the UK, almost all decking is imported, so it’s important to ensure timber used in your garden design is sustainable. Green oak and sweet chestnut will emit a natural and rustic appearance or for a more rich, modern appeal the beautiful grain and colour of hardwoods like ipê and eucalyptus can enhance any garden design encapsulating seamless flooring extending the house into an outdoor living space.