WHAT IS A SUSTAINABLE GARDEN?

4 min read

WHAT IS A SUSTAINABLE GARDEN?

Sustainability means something different to everyone. Or perhaps better said; everyone gives their own degree to sustainable work. It is also not easy to draw a line.

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After all, you can buy sustainably produced tiles, but if you cover your entire garden with them, that is of course not sustainable. In this way you can also purchase products that last a lifetime, but if a lot of expensive transport and rare raw materials have been required for this, you are not working sustainably. It is therefore a question of the interrelationship of all kinds of factors. Your consumption, your lifestyle, your behavior and respect for the environment, they all play a role.

HOW DO YOU CREATE A SUSTAINABLE GARDEN?

It can be done in dozens of ways. We make some suggestions. Keep in mind that sustainability has many parallels with climate adaptive and biodiverse.

  1. For a new garden, start from the existing situation
    . You could remove heavy clay soil that is difficult to work with and replace it with sandy soil, but it is better to mix the clay soil with sand and humus, so that the structure and nutritional values improve as well. Also try to find solutions for the excess soil that is released for paving, so that expensive and environmentally unfriendly transport is necessary. In the business they call this a closed ground balance.
  2. Lay as little paving as possible
    Paving is more expensive than planting and plants are by definition good for the environment. We recommend filling in a maximum of 1/3 of your garden area with hardening and 2/3 with green elements (lawn, pond, plants). In addition to the fact that plants are good for the environment, people and animals, using as much greenery as possible also ensures that rainwater can often be collected in your own garden and that you do not burden the sewage system. It is good to know that semi -paving such as Padvast is even more durable than solid paving such as stones and tiles because of the water permeability. This also includes a drivable lawn .
  3. Use sustainably produced materials
    We already said that it is quite difficult to determine what makes one product more sustainable than another, but not thinking about it and dwelling on it is not an option either. Natural stone from a distant country or brick from Dutch clay is such a choice. European Larix wood or tropical hardwood is also one. At the moment, even the origin of peat is being examined. It is better to choose your own organic material to improve your soil. Fortunately, there is an objective body in the Netherlands, NL Greenlabelwhich assesses all kinds of garden products on their sustainability. Many materials receive the positive Greenlabel. But as said before, a certified product alone is not enough. How you apply it, and how much of it you apply, play a role. Also keep in mind that not every manufacturer has its products inspected. You can compare everything to the choice of fertilizer or an organic approach. Fertilizer is not wrong but has a different overall effect.

    Nice Sustainable Family Garden | Annapart garden design & Mart Groen
  4. Think Cradle to Cradle
    This term stands for being able to fully recycle materials and constructions without harming the environment. NL Greenlabel also takes this into account when certifying products. You can also pay attention to it when you are laying out your garden. Don’t put anything in the ground that you can’t get out of it, and only use things that don’t decay and can always be recycled later. Recycling is a lot more difficult with painted wood, while it is not a problem with aging wood. Mole netting in itself may be recyclable, but it is quite difficult to hide or cut up in the ground. With gravel platesyou have completely recyclable plates where the bottom tissue does not come off and keeps the pebbles in place, but you also have plates that do not offer those benefits. You should therefore continue to use your common sense in order to arrive at the best decision.
  5. Use as little energy as possible
    Of course we do not mean working in the garden itself, but the consumption of energy in lighting, pumps, robotic mowers, leaf blowers, etc. This also includes the consumption of fuels and oil in machines. Quite a difficult consideration whether your robotic lawnmower consumes less energy than a motor mower. A similar problem occurs with artificial grass, while it has been shown that fully recyclable artificial grass requires much less use of all kinds of resources than with a normal lawn. It is important that the water permeability is guaranteed. But let’s stick to the main line. Use as little energy as possible and generate new energy where possible. The latter could already be done with solar panels in your garden room. If you then carefully design a pond, you do not need to use filters and pumps. And thegarden lighting on solar energy is so good nowadays that you can buy it without hesitation.
  6. Listen to your garden
    Listening to your garden is a variation on “The right plant in the right place”. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t do crazy things. You should not choose plants that do not stand a chance in your garden in the place you envision. In an existing garden, you will quickly notice which plants (species) are enjoying themselves and are continuing to grow. Just give those plants some extra space instead of experimenting with unknown plants. The timely adjustment of the water quality in your pond, the color of your lawn and the effect of ‘too much’ leaves under your trees are also part of listening.
  7. Act and think biologically, ecologically and organically
    . These are concepts that are very close to each other, roughly you could say: “Think naturally”. It already starts with the purchase of plants, are they grown with fertilizers and/or pesticides or not? Choosing native plant speciesis better in advance than all kinds of exotic variants. The insect life is also much happier with that. When planting, you can use many types of fertilizers, here too you have to consider whether they are pure sustainably sourced raw materials or not. Thinking ecologically means that you have to get as much soil life going as possible, only then can you build the ecosystem of which every plant, insect, worm and bacterium is part. Roughly speaking, it also means that you should keep as much material in your garden as possible. Do not dispose of leaves and foliage, but simply let them digest in your own garden. Organic soil is composted (digested) biological (vegetable) material. Can you still follow it? It is intended to allow all kinds of organisms to flourish.A garden is a combination of all kinds of factors. The interaction makes your garden strong, vital and pleasant for people and animals. It also makes the garden more resilient to external obstacles.

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