Sustainable Gardening For Healthy Living

Image: DXT_91
Image: DXT_91

The more we learn about the damage we are inflicting on Mother Earth, the more we want to change our everyday habits. You probably have switched to organic gardening practices, getting rid of chemical herbicides and pesticides, but how can you contribute to a healthier garden and cleaner living?

Here are some tips to help you navigate sustainable gardening and preserve, conserve and regenerate the environment:

  • Use native plants. They are adapted to the micro-climate in your area and often require less maintenance than exotic species.
  • Provide a habitat for wildlife and pollinators by planting native flowers.
  • Collecting rainwater in a barrel is a great way to utilize a renewable resource that nature provides.
  • Compost fruit and vegetable scraps, along with tree leaves to add nutrients to your soil and enrich its health while reducing waste.
  • Choose low voltage and energy-efficient LED bulbs for your landscaping lighting.
  • When building paths, fences or decks, look for recycled, reused or eco-friendly materials.
  • Get involved. Join local organizations, attend a sustainability talk, spread the word.

The Key Ingredients For Edible Landscaping

radishes
Photo: skitterphoto.com

Using edibles as ornamental accents for the garden has been trending for a while. For some, it’s a way to a more sustainable living while for others it’s a relaxing hobby, but why not do it for both its nutrimental and aesthetic value? Using vegetables and herbs in the garden for both food and ornamental appearance actually makes for a tougher and healthier garden with less need for pesticides and fungicides.

You don’t need much space to grow an eclectic mix of some of the most popular edibles. Shallow-rooted edibles like lettuce, radishes, peppers and herbs only need a container about 8 inches deep in order to thrive. While beets, carrots and onions require a bit more room, they can still grow perfectly in a 5-gallon pot, and strawberries can even do well in hanging baskets. If you want a vertical garden, try tomatoes, peas or cucumbers.

As in any other form of gardening, it’s effective to combine heights, textures and colors. Don’t forget to consider the overall look of each plant, and group together those that complement one another as well as those that share the same growing requirements.

The Basic Elements to Creating a Beautiful Landscape Garden

Gardens do not take up much space, yet they can add life and excitement to any yard.  A garden need not be museum-ready or qualify to accompany the Queen of England’s royal tea party to be enjoyed. A garden is an extension of a homeowner’s personality and a great backdrop fit for any yard.

Gardens keep us close to nature and lift our spirits. Whether a small, potted plant or a mélange of seasonal tulips, gardens bring a sense of calm and loveliness to any outdoor space.

Many homeowners and renters throw away the idea of a garden because of space and maintenance issues. If you love exotic plants and high-priced luxuries, go for it! But if you are living on a tight budget, you can still enjoy the ambience of a pleasing garden. Fortunately, you can find many low-maintenance plants that are inexpensive and require minimal care. And small spaces are the perfect backdrop for inexpensive window boxes, potted plants or self-contained raised garden beds.

Whether your yard is large, or a small plot fit for a family brunch, the basics of creating a garden remain the same. Consider these tips before you start so you can ensure the final product matches your thoughts, hopes and dreams.

Cohesion

Every element of your garden should complement each other. Consider the type of flower before adding new elements. Be careful not to mix two separate design styles like a Japanese water feature with a Victorian-inspired rose trellis. If you want to add several styles into one space, separate the areas to create boundaries so that each space receives it own measure of appreciation.

Color Choice

This is your chance to really make your personality shine! Use color to add an explosion of interest to your garden. Loud colors bring the eye forward while muted colors push the eye back. Use bright colors on features you want to stand out and darker colors on those you want to serve as a creative backdrop. Be careful not to overwhelm a more relaxed garden with too much color. Consider your overall theme first.

Scale and Proportion

If you have a small ledge, you wouldn’t add a bright spotlight to illuminate your small, potted plant. In the same manner, pay attention to the scale of your garden and avoid overpowering it with elements that are too large for the space. Consider the mature height of trees as well and unite the scale of each element so the overall appearance looks unified.

Walkways and Pathways

If you have a larger garden you may need to consider the paths leading to it and around it. Remove any obstructions to paths and make room for walkways so visitors can stroll through the garden without effort.

Any outdoor space can be injected with the life a garden brings. If you need more help coming up with ideas for your space, visit your local nursery and ask a knowledgeable salesperson for advice. Bring with you a sketch of your space as well as the general outdoor style you desire.