If you are planning out how you are going to use a large outdoor space in the surroundings of a property, then there are all kinds of ways you can make it a stunning place that is going to be enjoyable to spend time in. However, these days, it is important to factor in how environmentally-friendly your home and its surroundings are. It is no good if something looks beautiful and natural if it is actually having a negative impact on the environment, after all.
With a large space, there are lots of things you may want to include. For instance, you may want areas with certain types of plants such as trees, you may want lawns where you can play games or host parties, and you may want features such as fountains, sculptures or garden furniture. You may also want to designate an area for tennis courts or similar, and you may also plan for an outdoor pool. However, when you are working on the layout of your spaces, it can be a great idea to also think about spaces that could be used for green efforts. For instance, you may factor in somewhere where you might be able to have a solar installation, or where you might grow plants that encourage local wildlife to thrive, including butterflies.
Here we look at some of the things you could think about when planning a large landscaped garden in order to make it as green as possible:
Water Conservation – Lawns
One of the main considerations when it comes to keeping a garden looking good while also being environmentally friendly is water, especially if you live in a region where during the summer months, you need to water the garden with sprinklers or other systems in order to keep the lawn green and the plants healthy. Interestingly, one way more and more people are achieving beautiful lawns while also conserving water is by having artificial lawns rather than real turf. The advances in the design of high-end artificial lawns mean that it is now possible to get faux grass that is indistinguishable from the real thing as far as looks go, and which is also suitable for doing all of the things one might want to do on a real lawn with, such as playing sports.
There are a lot of advantages in terms of maintenance, and of course, you also won’t need to worry about using pesticides, so if you are thinking of having a large lawn space, this could be a great way to achieve it. Your artificial turf won’t need mowing, will look green and healthy even when there is no rain, or in shaded areas, and will provide a guaranteed beautiful look and soft texture to walk on all year round.
Water Conservation – Recycling Rainwater
When it comes to watering plants, you can save a lot of water every year by having cisterns that gather rainwater around your property. This is a good way to take advantage of seasonal changes in weather and keep the plants nicely hydrated without needing to use as much of your main water supply. You can choose attractive rainwater gathering solutions that can include smart technology, or get garden hoses at Gilmour that can be attached to more traditional tanks – as long as it can collect water and release it when you need it, it doesn’t matter what look you go for! However, there are currently nine states in the US that restrict the collection of rainwater, so do check this beforehand.
Your plants will thrive best if you use top quality compost, which of course you can buy, but it is also very simple and environmentally friendly to have your own composting solution installed for your garden, so that you can use your own household organic waste to make compost for your plants. Finding a good solution where you simply separate waste from your kitchen that is suitable for composting (essentially anything organic and biodegradable) to go to your compost heap is easy to get used to, especially when you are separating waste anyway for recycling purposes. This can be a convenient and easy way to run your garden in an environmentally conscious way. You can buy composting systems that use worms to turn waste into usable compost quickly, or you can simply allow waste to decompose in your composting solution over time by itself.
Creating a Solar Farm on Your Property
One of the absolute best ways to make your garden space green is to use some of the areas as a solar energy farm. Solar power can be used to power things in your own home, or can often be redistributed to the grid in exchange for a reduction in your electricity bills, depending on what energy providers in your area offer. This means it is beneficial to have as many solar panels as you can, and there are lots of attractive ways they can be added to garden spaces, as well as to things like the roofs of your home and any outdoor buildings, e.g. a pool house. You may find that you get enough sun exposure in some areas that you can power some of your appliances purely by using solar energy. Solar power is not only completely sustainable, and allows you to avoid using other more harmful energy sources, but it can be a way to save or even earn money just by using your space wisely.
Planning where you can put solar panels within your new garden layout can be interesting, and you may find some innovative ways to get more solar energy from your space if you talk to solar companies in your area about the types of units they offer and where these could potentially be used. Semper Solaris is one of the best solar companies to check out if you want to make solar power generation a major part of your layout plans, or even if you’d just like to have a few solar panels in one area.
Another area of your garden’s design where you can think green is with your outdoor lighting. You will almost certainly want some light in your outdoor spaces, both to allow you to use them after dark and for safety and security, and you may want full floodlighting solutions in some places, for example for your outdoor pool or if you have things like tennis courts. When you are choosing your lighting solutions, make sure to choose LED lights for everything.
LED is the most energy-efficient type of lighting currently available for mainstream use, and it has become so popular that you will be able to find countless options for stylish, powerful outdoor lighting to suit your needs, at prices similar to what you would expect to pay for less efficient lighting systems that use older technology. LED lights are not only able to provide a lot more light with a lot less power, but are also a lot more versatile, making colored lighting, color-changing lights, and lights in interesting shapes and styles all possibilities you can use. LEDs require less maintenance than other floodlights and outdoor lighting too, as the bulbs can last for decades of normal use, making replacements a rare event.
Use Locally-Sourced Materials for Landscaping, Features and Garden Furniture
Whether you are planning to use wood, stone, gravel, metal, or all of the above for elements of your landscaped garden, it can make a big difference to how environmentally friendly your project will be if you try to source the things you use locally. The environmental cost in terms of carbon emissions and fuel usage of transporting heavy resources like these is enormous, and also, it can be harder to tell if things like wood have come from sustainable forests if you don’t buy them from somebody close to the original source. Look into how you can incorporate materials found locally into your design, and source everything you need from places that are as close to you as possible.
Another thing you can consider when it comes to your features and garden furniture is looking out for interesting reclaimed pieces. Sculptures, ironwork, fountains and other design features can often be found on a reclamation basis, which not only means you are recycling existing things, but also that you will be adding some interesting history to your new garden. Look online for vendors of reclaimed materials and you may be surprised at some of the beautiful things you can find, and add to your unique garden design.
Encourage Local Wildlife
There may be some wildlife you want to avoid getting into your garden, however other, non-destructive or dangerous creatures like birds and butterflies can enhance it, and creating an environment that is safe and appealing for them is a great thing to do from a conservation perspective. Do some research into the kinds of birds and butterflies that are native to your area, and which trees and plants attract them. Butterflies tend to stay close to one particular type of tree, which varies by species, and so if you learn about the butterflies in your region, you will be able to choose and cultivate trees that they like, and bring them into your own environment!
Birds can often be attracted by simple feeders, and choosing where to put these in your garden can allow you to add some stylish features which will become even more interesting when the birds arrive! Hummingbirds, for example, if they are native to your area, can be attracted with feeders that dispense a sugar solution similar to the nectar they feed on, whereas other types of birds can be attracted using more common bird feeders filled with seeds. Adding a birdbath to your garden can also be a nice way to include a classic, pretty feature that is good for wildlife.
Create a Garden That Grows Food Yielding Plants
If you have never considered growing your own vegetables, fruits or herbs before, you may find that it is a fun and interesting use for a part of your garden space. Even if you don’t really want to commit to growing anything that requires too much of your attention (or that of your gardeners), having an aromatic herbal garden is always a nice touch to create a lovely, fragrant area in your outdoor space, and does not require you to do too much in terms of planning out and caring for seasonal crops. Fruit trees can also be a pretty feature that will give you color when in blossom, and edible food too.
If you do like the idea of going all-in with growing different types of food, however, there are so many ways that you can implement this when you have a lot of space to work with, including creating a greenhouse for the plants that need it, and considering how other types of food plants can be used to create a nice feature for your garden. It is extremely environmentally friendly to grow your own produce, as even the foods you can buy locally will have been transported to some extent. It also means you will have access to fresh, free, organic food that you can eat with the satisfaction of knowing exactly how and where it was grown. You can also find interesting ways to use excess yields, such as making your own wine or preserves, or simply throwing a party in your garden and using up the excess ripe fruit and vegetables in the catering! Giving away food you don’t want to local charities can also be a very rewarding way to make good use of your garden space to do good in the community.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can incorporate green thinking when you are planning out a beautiful new garden. Whether you want to go all out with green features and use solar power wherever you can, or you just want to choose the more environmentally friendly options for the things you already know you want like lighting, it is always good to research and consider where you can make green choices for your home and garden.