How to make your garden more eco-friendly

If you’re looking for ways to make an impact on the planet, here are some simple tips to help you make a difference in your own outdoor space, whether it’s a garden, courtyard or balcony.

1 - Utilize companion planting
There are many different flowers and crops that can provide benefits when planted next to one other, such as deterring pests, improving growth, enhancing flavor and attracting beneficial insects. Some classic combinations include basil and tomatoes, asparagus and parsley, beans and broccoli, and chamomile and cabbage.

2 - Install a rainwater tank
Rainwater tanks come in all shapes and sizes, to accommodate small backyards, narrow spaces and even balconies. A rainwater tank will help you reuse the rainfall in your area and keep both bills and your water usage down.

Rain water tank with watering canLea Rae via Shutterstock

3 - Protect crops with netting
Where possible, cover crops with netting to protect them from pests, instead of spraying them with chemicals. Nets also protect fruit trees from being munched by birds and other wildlife. (Leave a few windfalls for them instead).

4 - Plant natives
Choose plants that thrive in the local environment. This encourages insects and native wildlife to visit, offering shade and protection, and also reduces the amount of watering you’ll need to do to keep your garden flourishing.

Native American Plum TreeStrawberryRhubarb via Shutterstock

5 - Practice eco-conscious lawn care
Harsh chemicals such as glyphosate, which is found in Roundup, can cause biodiversity loss and can even kill wildlife. Reduce chemical use, let your lawn grow and try to live with the odd weed that might sprout up. Try cutting only in warmer weather and use an electric mower if you can.

6 - Make a bird feeder
Feeding the birds is a great way to attract them to your garden and gives them something to munch on other than your fruit trees. It’s easy to make a DIY bird feeder from our very own Pure Planet Club empty toilet rolls!

DIY Bird FeederR R via Shutterstock

7 - Plant a ‘dry’ garden
Whether you have a big backyard or a city balcony, consider planting a dry garden, which typically features plants that thrive in sunny, dry conditions such as woody herbs like rosemary and olive trees – in other words, Mediterranean-style plants. Cactus and succulents also require very little water – or care – to survive.

8 - Grow your own produce
Reducing food miles by growing your own produce is fun and easy, not to mention a huge cost-saver. Start with easy-to-grow plants such as hardy herbs, cut-and-come again veggies such as lettuce and kale, tomatoes and strawberries.

Home Vegetable GardenRawpixel via Shutterstock

9 - Upcycle garden furniture
Instead of splurging on new garden or balcony furniture, upcycle any tired garden furniture with a rub-down and a lick of fresh paint, or scour your local Facebook ‘Buy Nothing’ group or charity shops to give pre-loved items a new lease of life in your outdoor space.

10 - Use mulch on beds and pots
Placing mulch on garden beds and even on pots has multiple benefits. It maintains soil temperature, reduces weeds, increases water retention and infiltration and improves soil texture.

Mulching Garden BedNadzeya Pakhomava via Shutterstock