How To Create A Sustainable Garden

Our gardens are an important part of nature, which is why, whether you've got a small urban garden or a big garden surrounded by only fields and the sweet songs of birds, it is important (more now than ever!) to garden in a sustainable way.

This means reusing old furniture and making sure your garden is inviting to all form of wildlife from garden birds to slugs and snails to native plants and looking after the environment for future generations.

Our gardens can make a small difference to both you and our local climate and wildlife and it is so important that we give them a helping hand, especially with out environment being affected by climate change.

Being sustainable in your outside space doesn't have to be boring, in fact there are so many fun things you can do to make your garden a space you enjoy too, like creating a vegetable garden and watching growing plants in your natural surroundings.

What is a Sustainable Garden?

Sustainable Gardening is defined as an outdoor space that uses sustainable gardening practices and sustainable materials that are kind to the plant - this includes planting garden plants that are native plant species, making your own compost and looking after garden wildlife.

Eco friendly gardening encourages plants to grown and wildlife to thrive.

Sustainable Gardening Ideas

Bird Feeders

For wild birds, and other animals like Squirrels, the food we put out in our gardens is a source that they rely on. At least half of the population of homeowners provide food to birds on a bird feeder in the UK, and this is estimated to support around 133 bird species.

Bringing birds into our gardens doesn't just benefit us by providing us with endless bird watching opportunities, but they also benefit out gardens and help us create a sustainable outside space because birds, and other garden animals, play a vital role in maintaining a healthy eco friendly garden through natural pest control, seed dispersal, pollination and much more.

During breeding season and the winter months, when their natural food resources may be scarce, the food we leave out for them on our bird feeders is a vital source of energy and nutrition. Bird food is easy to come across, and you can invest in a mixed bird seed or if you're feeling creative, you could make your own fat balls.

Native Plants


In the UK, we have many different plants species that are native, and a general rule of thumb when it comes to creating a sustainable garden, is to stick to growing native plants in your own garden.

Native wildflowers are easy to grow and maintain in your flower garden beds, whilst being a really great source of pollen for bees and butterflies and environmentally friendly habitat for other wild garden animals.

Naturally, because they are used to growing in the area you live, native plants will be stronger and healthier. You can also find native drought resistant plants which are really easy to look after!

When planting these plants, it's great to find an alternative to plastic bottles and pots, such as natural materials like bamboo, paper and recycled materials seed trays!

Native Plant Species

Here are some native plant species commonly found in the UK and perfect to use for your sustainable gardening!

  1. Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

  2. English Oak (Quercus robur)

  3. Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

  4. Common Heather (Calluna vulgaris)

  5. Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

  6. Common Ivy (Hedera helix)

  7. Elder (Sambucus nigra)

  8. Wild Primrose (Primula vulgaris)

  9. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

  10. Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum)

  11. Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)

  12. Common Dog Violet (Viola riviniana)

  13. Cowslip (Primula veris)

  14. Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

  15. Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra)

Shelter For Animals

One of the most important components of a sustainable garden is creating shelter for animals.

In the wild, natural resources of habitat and nesting sites are becoming harder for animals to find and that means they are not having as many successful breeding seasons and are more at risk to predators and harsh weather conditions.

If in our garden, we have ample plants and bushes, artificial bird nest boxes, insect hotels and shelter, we can help increase the survival of local animals (and who doesn't want sweet baby birds nesting in your garden!?).

This is also a great way to reuse materials you have lying around the house as you can even make your own bird box using left over wood materials.

Plants for Pollinators

If we didn't have bees and many other insects, our local ecosystems wouldn't take too long to collapse as without bees plants wouldn't get pollinated and that would rock the balance of every other living thing.

In recent years, bees and other pollinators have been battling a loss of habitat, which is probably why we have all seen less of them in our gardens in the past few years and this is why it's time to plant for the pollinators - this include native species of wildflowers - if we can provide them with suitable habitat in our gardens, we can slowly help reverse the decline of these species.

Grow Your Own Food

Another sustainable gardening top tip is growing your own food - this helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as the food you are consuming isn't travelling a long way by plane, boat or car - in fact, it's right there on your door step reducing your carbon footprint.

You can grow your own fruit and vegetables, and we can guarantee that it will taste much better in any home cooked meal you make, just because you put the effort into growing these edible plants.

Make Your Own Compost

In compost bags or compost pile, put leaves, grass clippings and cuttings and left over food waste and create an at home feritiliser that will improve the health of your garden in a natural way by giving it all the essential nutrients it needs.

Homemade compost is a really great way to reuse any food waste whilst also naturally improving the health of your garden plants in any green space, as it is a natural fertiliser.

Add a Water Feature

A bird bath or wildlife pond is the central point of any sustainable garden. If you have space for a wildlife pond, this is a great way to increase the wildlife in your garden, adding to its biodiversity. It provides a home for amphibians whilst also being drinking water for birds and mammals.

If you've got a smaller garden, a bird bath is the perfect way to ensure all wildlife in your garden has access to a fresh and consistent source of water.

Collect Rainwater

By collecting rainwater in your garden, you can reuse it to water plants grown in your outside space which, in turn, reduces your reliance on main water sources and reduces water waste.

During the warmer months, where collecting rainwater may not be as possible, to save water, it might be worth investing in a water butt, mulching flower beds and using ground covering plants to reduce moisture evaporation.

Avoid Chemical Pesticides

Chemical pesticides can harm not only targeted pests but also beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife in your garden. They disrupt the natural balance of the soil structure and ecosystem and can lead to declines in biodiversity.

Chemical pesticides can leach into the soil, contaminating it and harming beneficial soil organisms. This can degrade soil health and fertility over time.

By avoiding these, you are promoting the overall health of your sustainable garden. If you do need to get rid of pests in your garden, try to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods.

Let It Grow

Incorporating not always trimming and pruning principles into garden design involves creating habitats that mimic natural ecosystems, with a variety of plants at different stages of growth. This approach attracts a diverse array of wildlife and promotes ecological balance.

Allowing plants to grow naturally promotes biodiversity by creating diverse habitats for wildlife. It supports a variety of plant species, which in turn attract insects, birds, and other animals, contributing to a healthy ecosystem.

The Benefits of a Sustainable Garden

When it comes to sustainable gardening, there are many benefits to both you, and your local wildlife.

By collecting rainwater, growing your own food, reducing your carbon footprint, and minimising the use of harmful chemicals, you are helping to conserve the environment.

Inviting animals into your garden helps to improve biodiversity, and with natural biodiverse ecosystems declining, this is more important now than ever. It will also mean you get to see all kinds of wildlife in the comfort of your own home!

Sustainable Gardening benefits so many parts of our local wildlife, so get those gardening gloves out and get a diverse range of plants growing!