10 Ways to Make your Garden More Sustainable

1. Plant a Tree

Trees are great at absorbing and storing carbon from the atmosphere.

Did you know that if all 30 million gardeners in the UK planted one tree in their community, school, workplace or garden and nurtured it to maturity, they would store enough carbon to drive you 11 million times around the Earth?

2. Make use of Rainwater

Switch from mains to rains in your garden to save carbon.

Use a water butt containing water that falls onto your rood instead of turning on a tap, or a watering can instead of a hosepipe.

watering can in garden

3. Go Peat-Free

Peatlands are the world’s largest carbon store on land. They provide valuable ecosystems for plants and animals, and help to reduce the risk of flooding significantly.

When we use peat in our gardens, carbon is released and habitats are damaged. Keeping peat in bogs is a crucial part in the fight against climate change.

Our planet’s billions of acres of peat hold more carbon than in all the world’s forests combined.

To read more about the dangers of using peat in your garden, click here.

4. Make your own Compost

compost in garden

Carbon saving quantities linked to home composting are equivalent to 1.85 miles (driven by the average car) saved per kg of home compost made.

Every 1kg of homemade compost typically saves over 0.1kg of fossil CO2 emissions, which could save more than 5.1kg of carbon, per gardener, each year.

5. Pull up a Paving Slab

Garden soils and perennial plantings play a crucial role in storing carbon.

If 30 million gardeners pulled up a single paving stone and planted 1m² of perennial plants in their community, school, workplace or garden, and allowed it to develop to maturity, this would be equivalent to heating between 86,000 to over a million homes for a year!

6. Plant for Pollinators

Pollinators need our help. Loss of habitat is one of the main reasons why we now see fewer bees, butterflies, and other insects visiting our gardens.

Help slow and reverse the decline in bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies by growing a wide variety of plants. This might include a mixture of native, near-native and exotic plants to support pollinator diversity.

To read more about the decline in pollinators, click here.

7. Grow your own Flowers

Some imported flowers have up to 10 times the carbon footprint of home or UK-grown bouquets.

Growing or buying UK-grown cut flowers can save up to 7.9kg of carbon per bunch when compared with buying imported bunches.

8. Switch to Electric

An average petrol power tools emits 0.848kg of carbon per litre of petrol used. They also emit harmful particulate and noise pollution.

If 21% of UK gardeners who used power tools switched from fossil fuels to green energy electric-powered tools, it would save enough carbon equivalent to driving around the plant 29,820 times.

strimmer in garden

9. Map UK Garden Plant Biodiversity

Add your garden plants to RHS My Garden online to help map UK garden plants to conserve and grow this important biodiversity now and for future generations.

Find out more about RHS My Garden online here.

10. Eat More Home-Grown, Seasonal Produce

Buying locally sourced and home-grown produce can save significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

Eat more home-grown, UK, local and seasonal fruit and vegetables from local sources or from your own garden or allotment. Growing at home also allows you to choose not to use pesticides.

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