Current Issues, Guest Posts, How To, Organic, Sustainable Living

eco friendly garden

With the beginning of summer in the UK, you wouldn’t want to miss the beautiful weather by confining yourself within the house. As your patio will be the centre of attention for family gatherings, entertainment and the perfect spot for relaxation, why not consider remodeling the area? What’s even better is giving the patio an earth-friendly makeover. This way you will be able to add new textures, colours, update the furniture and beautify your home while fulfilling your commitment to the environment. Here are eight creative tips for you to make your garden eco-friendly:

Use Organic Fabrics

Adding some new colours will help you create the desired environment and revamp your outdoors. The upholstery brings everything together adding the perfect touch to your patio, so make these choices carefully. While you are out in your search for the perfect colours, patterns and designs, consider getting some organic fabric instead of the regular synthetic ones. Organic cotton and hemp are great options; the materials are environment-friendly and help limit your exposure to chemicals that are otherwise used in synthetic cotton and linens. You can even buy cushions filled with organic soy, corn or cotton or those made using natural dyes, so you don’t end up compromising on your favourite shades.

Organic fabrics

Look for Sustainable Furniture

Selecting the correct furniture is essential as it brings comfort, enjoyment, and relaxation. Eco-friendly furniture may seem expensive, but it is worth the price and pays off in the more extended run. Today sustainable furniture has become an increasingly common choice due to their benefits to the environment, durability and the aesthetic appeal of course. The two most popular materials include teak and eucalyptus wood, the former being the most expensive yet demanded material for its beauty and ease of maintenance. Eucalyptus is a more affordable alternative if you aren’t looking to spend a high amount yet want the same benefits as that of teak. The important thing is to ensure that the furniture you buy is made out of wood which was grown and harvested in an eco-friendly manner. For those who wouldn’t want to opt for wood, aluminum or stainless steel are good choices.

Teak furniture

Eco-Friendly Rugs

The perfect patio wouldn’t look complete without a comfy rug, would it? There are tons of options available for environment-friendly materials such as jute, bamboo, seagrass, recycled plastic, cotton yarns, sisal to name a few. These are not only sustainable, biodegradable but also strong & sound-absorbent and are excellent for adding texture. Make sure you get a rug with the correct construction as it will be more durable and last you longer. You can even opt for rugs made out of recycled plastic for high-traffic areas to add a touch of greenery. You have the opportunity to play with your creativity so get something that solidifies the feel of the space.

Organic Rugs

Recycle Old Household Items to Use as Décor

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to remodel your patio. Various old items in the house may seem useless but guess what, you can put your imagination to work and recycle these to add beauty to your outdoors. It is all about letting your creative juices flow, and you will be able to create a masterpiece out of anything, from old tires to metal containers, even your old pair of boots (hint: these may act as flower pots). You can reupholster old furniture or re-paint the old patio table to give it a total makeover.

Innovative Technologies

If you desire to make an impact, then consider investing in energy efficient technologies that are kinder to the environment. Of course, it isn’t possible to install high power solar panels at once, but you can always begin with small changes. For instance, you can get solar powered night lights for your garden or patio. You may also consider investing in a motion detecting system for your porch; the lights will automatically turn on when the sensor identifies motion which will help save electricity. This way you will be able to contribute to the saving of precious natural resources while reducing pollution.

Solar lights

Add Native Plants to Your Yards

Since we are remodeling the patio, the garden could also use a few changes. The first step towards an eco-friendly garden is planting native species. These plants require less maintenance and can help lower your water costs. If you wish to take a step closer towards the goal, consider going organic with your garden and create a healthy, pesticide-free environment for growing fruits and veggies.

Use Natural Cleaning Methods

Once you are done remodeling the outdoor area, it is now time to think of ways of maintaining the patio without being harsh to the environment. Instead of relying on chemicals, you can use natural products available at stores or create your cleaning solutions using substances like vinegar or lemon juice. Recycle all your waste and try to adopt a plastic-free approach for your home starting with the patio.

Choose Environment-Friendly Decoration Options

For walkways and patios, you can consider bricks, permeable concrete pavers, and natural stones as green options for a patio. As for decorating the area, you can utilise the beauty of nature in whatever way you like. If you wish to witness the majestic beauty of birds, you can add birdhouses to provide accommodation for the birdies, birdbaths, a small pond and plants to create a relaxing environment.

bird feeder

Danica Boyd is a bird enthusiast and nature lover. She has been keeping pet birds for several years and now has tons of practical experience in caring for birds. She writes for the team behind Bird Cages Now.

Composting, Gardening, How To, Megan, Organic

Why Compost?

There are countless benefits to composting and it is easier to get started than a lot of people think! When you use it as a soil amendment it improves the soils structure, provides a source of plant nutrients and stimulates beneficial organisms. Other benefits include saving money you may be spending on expensive soil amendments and reducing waste sent to landfill, contributing to a more sustainable planet. It is also great if you want to transition to transforming your garden into an organic, pesticide-free environment. It is easy to learn how to compost and it is a great investment of your time!

Compost Bins

How to compost: compost bins
How to compost: compost bins

First things first – investing in a great compost bin will make your life as a composter gardener a lot easier. There are numerous compost solutions on the market today. These include easy-load compost bins and tumbling compost bins for faster composting. Accessories such as compost aerators which helps speed up the decomposition process are also available. If you want to be extra kind to the environment, avoid plastic and invest in a wooden compost bin.

Alternatively, you can recycle and use an old rubbish bin as a compost bin. Saw off the bottom and drill holes in the bottom half of the bin, then bury the section with holes in the soil. This will allow microorganisms to more easily enter your pile.

We have highlighted below some items you can and cannot compost. All you need to do to get started is start loading into your compost bin, and wait for it to do its magic!

What You Can Compost

How to compost: peeling potatoes

You can compost the majority of the organic matter from your food waste, including but not limited to:

  • Tea bags (be wary that some tea bags are encased in plastic and other inorganic materials.  If in doubt cut open and just compost the contents)
  • Egg shells
  • Fruit & vegetable scraps
  • Coffee grounds & filters
  • Leftover cooked pasta & rice
  • Stale food, such as bread, cereal and crisps (bury bread deep to discourage pests)
  • Cardboard food packaging with any plastic removed, cut up for easier decomposition
  • Herbs & spices

But composting materials aren’t just limited to kitchen scraps! Many people aren’t aware you can also cultivate other household waste, including:

  • Facial tissues
  • Cotton items – cotton wool, clothing, fabric
  • Newspaper & waste paper, as long as it’s not glossed (best to feed through a shredder first)
  • Crumbs and dust collected from your dustpan
  • Uneaten dry dog & cat food
  • Dead house plants & flowers

And last but not least, don’t forget to compost your garden waste, such as:

  • Grass trimmings
  • Leaves
  • Dying plant material
  • Non-toxic weeds

What You Can’t Compost

how to compost: walnuts

There are some things better left out of compost. These items may slow decomposition and produce a lower quality of compost. Others aren’t just bad for compost, but bad for the environment. The general rule is you can compost anything that is organic matter that was once living. Some exceptions to this rule are:

  • Cooking oil
  • Diseased plants
  • Dairy products, including milk (although plant-based milks can be composted)
  • Meat scraps
  • Any inorganic materials
  • Walnuts
  • Pet faeces

How to Use Your Compost

how to compost: compost in scoop

Compost can be used in many beneficial ways. As already mentioned it is a great organic soil amendment. Simply spread it onto your flower bed or veg patch to make your flowers lusher and your vegetables hardier. Compost can also be used as a lawn topper. It will encourage growth and ensure your grass is as green as can be. It can also be used as mulch, helping retain soil moisture as well as boosting its health.

What about pests?

It is pretty easy to keep unwanted pests just as rats, away from compost. Keeping meat and dairy products out of your compost will help as these are big for attracting rodents. Another solution is to buy a closed compost bin with a lid. This will keep pests away as well as conceal the smell of the compost. Also be sure to keep your compost bin away from other animal food sources, such as berry bushes or bird feeders.

Overall, composting is a great thing to do for you as a gardener, your garden and the wider environment. The benefits are endless and there is no better day to start than today!

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

Composting, Gardening, Gardens, Grow Your Own, Megan, Organic, Plants, Vegetables

What Is Organic Gardening?

The most basic interpretation of organic gardening is  ‘gardening without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals’. But organic gardening is about much more than simply avoiding pesticides and fertilisers. It is about working as one with nature and viewing your garden as part of the wider, balanced ecosystem. Organic gardening is fabulously rewarding for the environment, wildlife, plants and the gardener!

Organic Gardening - Rainbow Chard

What Are The Benefits Of Organic Gardening?

There are numerous benefits to organic gardening. Not only will the quality of your crop intensify, you will save money, improve the health of your soil (and yourself) and help contribute to a more sustainable way of living.

  • Quality of your crop – it is well known that organically grown food is significantly higher in vitamins and minerals than its non-organic counterparts, not to mention you won’t be ingesting chemicals that may be harmful to the body.
  • It’s money saving – by gardening organically, you will alleviate the need to buy expensive fertilisers and pesticides. You may think that because the prices of organic fruit and veg at the supermarket are inflated, that organic gardening will cost you a buck. In fact it is quite the opposite!
  • Soil health – adding organic matter to your soil adds vital nutrients to your soil and helps create a good soil structure. Further information about how composting improves soil health can be found below.
  • Sustainability – organic gardening contributes to sustainability by conserving resources, causing no harm to the earth and gardening in a way that is sensitive to the environment. In addition, growing your own fruit and veg means you will have to buy less in the supermarket.

How can I start organic gardening?

Compost, compost, compost!

Organic Gardening - Hands Holding Compost

Compost is a great, all natural, organic soil amendment. Work it into the soil, or spread it on top to allow weather and worms to do the job for you. Compost will improve the quality of your soil in a number of ways; it will add valuable nutrients, help soil retain moisture, contributes to balancing the soil’s pH and improves the soil’s overall structure. Composting also saves money you would be spending on chemical fertilisers that could be causing harm to you and the environment.

Plant in perfect pairs (companion planting)

Organic Gardening - Hand Holding Plant

Companion planting and organic gardening go hand in hand. It is a great way to reduce pests and naturally block weed growth. Additionally it supports plant diversity thus benefiting the soil and the ecosystem. With companion planting, you really can let nature do a lot of the work for you. To find out more, check out our post here.

Choose the right plants

Organic Gardening - Seedlings

Plan and assess what plants will flourish best in your garden. Choosing plants that are native to your area will allow for easier growth. It is also more sustainable than trying to change your environment to suit a plant that is destined for another land. Look for plants that will be sure to thrive in each spot you plant it. Take into consideration light, drainage, moisture and the quality of the soil.

Control pests naturally

Organic Gardening - Ladybirds On Plant

Prevention is the best and first step to discouraging pests from devouring your precious plants. Composting, mulching and the use of natural fertiliser will develop strong, vigorous plants that are less susceptible to pests. Using seaweed spray also enhances growth and helps repel slugs. Another great way to prevent pests is attract beneficial insects to your garden. These prey on the insects you’re not so keen to welcome.

Overall, organic gardening reaps more benefits than you can initially imagine, and today is the perfect time to start. In no time your garden will be flourishing into an organic and chemical-free oasis of nature at its very best.

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.