If you’re lucky enough to have a garden there are many things you can do to make a difference. As well as homes for all sorts of critters, our gardens can help us offset the effects of climate change by:
- Providing shade
- Helping reduce flooding
- Feeding pollinators
- Maintaining biodiversity
- Absorbing carbon dioxide
Here are some nature friendly actions you can try in your garden:
Plant a wide range of plants - choosing a greater variety of plant species with different flowering times will make your garden more resilient to extreme weather conditions and benefit local wildlife. The RHS has a useful list of pollinator friendly plants on their website.
Avoid artificial grass - artificial lawn is a no-go for a ‘green’ garden. Not only are high levels of energy and oil used to produce it, artificial grass also deprives insects and other ecosystems of a home. As it wears, it sheds small pieces of plastic that pollute the environment.
Create a greener driveway - if you need to park a car make the surface is permeable to encourage plants around it. Replace as much paving, concrete and gravel with green up with grasses and flowers for bees and other bugs to enjoy.
Cut down on chemicals and go peat-free - use natural repellents in your garden. Instead of slug pellets, try copper tape. Swap the weedkiller for a weeding knife and choose a peat free compost to protect peatlands and the carbon they store.
Why waste water? Swap your garden hose for a watering can and fit a water butt to collect rainwater. You will save money on your water bill and conserve water in the summertime. Check out these water saving tips from South East Water.
Don’t be too tidy - it may be tempting to keep your patch pristine but small pockets of ‘overgrowth’ or piles of cuttings, sticks or logs can make a huge difference. A small area for nettles could help save endangered species of butterflies! We’ve been trialling wildflower verges around Surrey Heath for the past few years, helping to increase biodiversity and brighten up the borough. Not only are they visually appealing around your garden, but bringing nature to your doorstep has a positive effect on your wellbeing.
Compost your garden and kitchen waste - if you have the space why not set up your own compost bin or pile. Adding homemade compost to your soil can improve its structure and add nutrients.
Reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce single use plastics by saving pots and seed trays and wash ready for the next planting phase. Purchase quality gardening tools that will last for years to come.
Have a small yard, or live in a flat? Grow vertically. Upcycle an old basin, bin, pair of wellies - just about anything. Tomatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers and melons are all suited to growing vertically, maximising the amount you can grow. Not only will this save you money on buying produce, but you can re-use old items for a new hobby!
No Garden? Have you considered taking part in a community garden? Or applying for your own allotment? More details on allotments.
The RSPB’s website gives further eco-friendly garden tips on how you can make your garden even greener, and how to make your garden more wildlife-friendly.
The RHS website provides further detail of how you can maximise the benefits of your garden in a changing climate.
At SHBC, to help halt the decline in our local swift population we’ve installed swift boxes at Camberley Theatre. In conjunction with Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust, we hope this will help encourage more of these birds to set up home in Surrey Heath.