There’s nothing quite like a beautiful garden to make a house feel like a home—especially when it’s done in an environmentally friendly way. In the Pacific Northwest and around the globe, sustainable gardens are becoming increasingly common, which is a trend that homeowners, neighbors, and the environment itself can all appreciate.
Sustainable Garden Basics
Sustainable gardens are simply those that support the local ecosystem and avoid the use of synthetic chemical intervention. You can use sustainable techniques to grow pretty much anything, from a vegetable garden and fruit trees to cacti, formal hedges, or relaxed, native landscaping.
The benefits of incorporating a sustainable garden onto your property are plentiful. A garden can:
- Revitalize the natural habitat for pollinators, such as bees and hummingbirds
- Create a beautiful, relaxing exterior space
- Grow sustainable, all-natural fruit and vegetables
- Avoid adding harmful chemicals to the local water supply
- Highlight the beauty of your home and property
Growing Your Home’s Value
Of course, for homeowners, gardening isn’t just a relaxing hobby that can yield beautiful results; it can also add value to your home.
Homes with well-tended front landscaping often have the most curb appeal. In backyards and patio areas, a lush garden can make a house feel more inviting and functional. After all, everyone likes the idea of relaxing outdoors in a pretty garden space. So if you’re considering whether to jump into sustainable gardening, remember that it’s actually a good investment.
Creating Your Own Sustainable Garden
A sustainable garden doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. Remember: Gardening is supposed to be fun! If you’re just beginning, start with a few potted plants or a small garden bed. This will help you get the hang of things without feeling overwhelmed.
As you start planning your garden, you can pick and choose from the following sustainable techniques:
Whenever possible, incorporate native plants into your garden. Not only will they look beautiful with the rest of your home’s surroundings, but they’ll also require less watering and minimal tending, because they are already well-suited to your area. When you opt for non-native plants, you may find yourself having to water a lot more than you’d like.
Get into composting.
What a fantastic way to limit the amount of waste your household creates! Get into the habit of setting aside all fruit and vegetable scraps, leaf clippings, and other organic matter. Gather your scraps in a spacious outdoor compost bin, and be sure to turn the material about once a week. Add a bit of water every once in a while, and over time you’ll see the scraps break down into rich, stinky compost.
Homemade compost is a fantastic addition to potting soil and the natural dirt around your home. It sustainably enriches soil, providing plants the nutrients they need without the use of synthetic chemicals. Plus, composting lessens the amount of waste you send to a landfill.
Start collecting rainwater.
Here’s another simple way to make your garden more sustainable: Invest in a rainwater cistern that collects water during storms. Then, during drier times, use that water to irrigate your lawn, potted plants, vegetable garden, or flower beds. This not only cuts down on the amount of water you’re using from the city or from your well, but rainwater also provides your plants with more nutrients.
As you plan your garden, choose plants that work well together to get the most bang for your buck. For example, plant basil with tomatoes to improve the taste of your fruit and keep bugs away, and surround your vegetable plants with bee-attracting flowers to ensure strong cross-pollination.
If you’re gardening in raised beds or in the ground, be sure to add mulch a few times a year. This will prevent most weeds and help your plants retain moisture. Plus, mulch will protect your perennials during the cold winter months.
As you can see, sustainable gardening offers a little for everyone. Take a look around your home and ask yourself how you could add a bit more beauty with a garden. As every home gardener knows, you’ll truly enjoy tending to a green space or adding pops of colorful flowers and tasty vegetables. All the while, you’ll be making your house feel warm and inviting. And when you garden sustainably, you can feel even better about the work you’re doing, because you’re living in harmony with nature.