It’s estimated that there are over 360,000 gardens in the Hertfordshire which collectively make up a huge amount of land. Gardens can help the environment in lots of ways including reducing the risk of flooding, absorbing carbon dioxide and providing a home for wildlife. Making a few small changes to your garden can make a big difference in helping the environment.
Plant with pollinators in mind. Many species of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, are in decline. Simply adding pollinator-friendly plants can give them a helping hand.
Mini beasts. A bug box can encourage natural predators such as ladybirds and lacewings which will help to control aphids. Old logs placed in a shady corner provide a cool, moist habitat for frogs and newts and rotting wood is perfect for a range of insects including the UK’s largest beetle, the stag beetle.
Plant a hedge. Hedges, especially a mixed native hedge, make a fantastic habitat by providing food and shelter for a range of animals. They also help to reduce traffic noise.
Put in a pond. The best wildlife ponds have both deep and shallow areas, sloping sides and pond plants to oxygenate the water. Avoid adding fish if you want a pond rich in wildlife. Please be aware of the dangers of ponds for young children.
Green your walls. Planting climbers such as honeysuckle, clematis and climbing roses will provide additional cover and food for birds and other wildlife.
It doesn’t save to pave. If you need off street parking and are thinking of paving your front garden then check if you need planning permission, use permeable surfacing to prevent water run off and add planting up either side of the car space or pots and planters.
Save water. Hertfordshire is one of the driest parts of the UK and yet its residents use more water per head than any other part of the country. Reduce the need for watering by planting drought tolerant plants, adding mulch and watering at cooler times of the day to reduce evaporation. Collecting rainwater, reusing washing up or bath water and fitting a nozzle to a hose will reduce the water you use and can save you money.
Get composting. Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for you garden. Hertfordshire residents can buy compost bins at a reduced rate.
Reuse. Old household items such as wellies or sinks make great planters. How inventive can you be?
Grow your own. Growing your own fruit and vegetables will help you to save money, get some exercise and help the environment by reducing the environmental impact of transporting and packaging food. Even a small space such as a sunny balcony can be great for a tumbler of tomatoes.
What have you spotted. If you keep an eye on what wildlife visits your garden, pass your sightings on to the Hertfordshire Environmental Records Centre.
For more suggestions visit the Garden pages.