Gardening is an age-old pastime that brings joy to people of all generations, from all over the globe.
Not only does it provide a chance to disconnect from our busy lives and focus on something that adds beauty and value to our homes and lifestyle, but more and more people are recognising the benefits of gardening and spending time in nature for making us happier and healthier.
As people try to incorporate these benefits into their homes, 2020 has seen a rise in more sustainable, eco-friendly gardening practices that make the most of what you have and create spaces that are good for all involved – gardeners, local wildlife and the earth as a whole.
Here, we take a closer look at the top 10 sustainability trends that are popping up in backyards near you!
Composting may not seem like a ‘trendy’ word, nor is it new, but the act of putting organic material into the soil is increasingly being recognised as a beneficial thing to do for your home and the environment.
Composting is a great way to recycle your kitchen and yard scraps and reduce the amount of waste you put into landfill. You may be surprised to learn how many things can actually go into the compost including food scraps, coffee grounds, garden waste, pet waste and paper.
Once broken down, compost can be used in your garden to provide plants with essential nutrients and it also enhances the fertility of your soil. Composting also ties in nicely with the trend of the ‘no-dig’ gardening, supplying you with the organic mulch you require.
Getting started with composting is easy! You can purchase a variety of different composters depending on the size of your household or you can even build your own using upcycled or repurposed items such as cardboard boxes, wooden pallets or plastic buckets.
2. Sustainable Soil
Many gardeners are swapping soil for more sustainable growing options, such as wood fibre and green waste compost in a bid to be more environmentally friendly and some are even adopting a 'no-dig' approach to limit existing soil structure damage.
The ‘no dig’ method of gardening was introduced as a way to further improve the health of your soil, protect wildlife and improve the local environment. To implement this approach, you will need a lot of mulch (well-rotted manure or compost) and the principle is that you don’t dig up your existing soil.
Instead, you just add about 15cm or more of organic mulch to the top which prevents you from disturbing any living things in the existing soil and also kills weed seeds that might be ready to sprout.
3. Edible Gardens
Growing your own food is continuing to increase in popularity as people become more concerned with what they eat and how it’s grown. Fruit trees, vegie patches, herb gardens and even edible flowers do double duty in your garden by adding beauty, delightful scents, as well as food.
Planting your own crop of fruit and veggies allows you to be in full control of what goes into your food and can be a very rewarding process as you enjoy the fruits of your labour, reconnect with the seasons and teach kids valuable life lessons about where food comes from and self-sustainable gardening practices.
No space for a veggie patch? Have no fear! Herbs, dwarf citrus and plants like tomatoes or strawberries can easily be grown in pots or vertical gardens.
4. Native Gardens
As people look to create gardens that are more self-sustainable, there has been a growing trend towards reconnecting to the local environment and planting species that are native to that particular region.
Plants that are grown within their place of origin and suited to the natural climate are generally lower maintenance, require less water, pruning and fertilizer. By using plants that are native to your area in your garden, they’ll react, thrive and regenerate in their natural environment more efficiently and will require less human intervention. Which means less work for you and less impact on the environment. Win win!
5. Wildlife Gardens
Rewilding, as it’s more commonly known, has been growing in popularity as green-fingered nature lovers use their skills to reverse ecological decline and encourage the growth of native species.
Contemporary landscapes often lack diversity, but many homeowners are now planting a variety of mixed styles and species including flowering and fruiting varieties, with the specific purpose of encouraging wildlife to their backyard.
By ditching chemicals, increasing natives, providing a water source and layering plants of varying heights you will not only increase plant biodiversity in your garden, but also provide food and shelter for animals, birds and useful insects.
6. Big House Plants
You only have to scroll through Instagram to see how on trend indoor plants are right now. Interestingly, according to a recent article on domain, millennials are leading this craze and spending hundreds to thousands of dollars cultivating plant collections in their home and filling our feeds with large, retro-inspired Monstera and fiddle leaf plants, like gushing parents over a newborn baby!
But for this health and wellness focused generation it’s easy to understand why they have such a deep affiliation with house plants, as the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature are well documented and bringing plants indoors just makes those benefits more accessible. Some plants even have natural antimicrobial, hypoallergenic and air filtering properties.
Particularly this year, as we all spend more time at home, indoor plants are a great way to brighten your home, your mood and provide relaxing and comforting routines in this crazy and uncertain world.
Technology permeates our lives and has, in many ways, transformed the way we work, rest and play. Our gardens are no different and increasing accessibility to and decreasing prices of clever tech, is helping time poor and novice green thumbs keep their plants healthy and achieve designer looks with the click of a button.
If you struggle with knowing how much light your indoor plant needs, you can download a plant light meter app or buy grow lights. Too much or too little water? Why not invest in a moisture detector.
The use of modern technology is not restricted to indoors either. Many tech savvy gardeners are also using drones, automatic watering systems, LED lighting, motorised awnings and glow rocks to make their outdoor spaces more functional, aesthetically appealing and self-sustainable.
8. Climate Change Gardens
Worried about climate change? You’re not alone. Many gardeners are taking action to reduce their carbon footprint and adapt to the changes in weather that are already underway.
Included in this trend are gardens that minimise water use by using drought-tolerant and resilient plants, that recycle both hard and soft materials, reduce chemical use and are extra low-maintenance.
You can also take action in your backyard by using solar powered garden products, reducing your use of power tools and planting lots of trees to absorb carbon dioxide.
9. Home Sanctuary Gardens
In today’s busy modern world, the home garden has become so much more than just something beautiful to look at, but a private sanctuary for people to disconnect, relax and unwind.
More and more people are realising the restorative effects of being in nature for our mental and physical health. Some doctors are even prescribing time outdoors to their patients as a way to help with chronic disease and increase health and happiness.
So, it makes perfect sense that people would want to incorporate these benefits in their own home.
Here are some simple ways you can achieve a sanctuary atmosphere in your backyard:
- Install a water fountain or bird bath
- Consider plants with sweet smelling scents, like jasmine to tantalise your sense of smell
- Use plants to cool your home, like a fast-growing passionfruit vine over a trellis to provide shade
- Plant mosquito repelling varieties to stop pesky insects from interrupting your zen
10. DIY-ing & Repurposing
As awareness of the environmental impact of consumerism grows there has been a significant resurgence in DIY garden products and the repurposing of items to make them new again. A quick Google search reveals thousands of DIY tutorials and clever ideas to turn your unused trash into treasure.
Here are just a few of our favourite examples:
- Turn old wooden pallets or tin cans into vertical planting pots
- Make a bird bath out of an old lamp
- Use an old chest of drawers as a plant stand or turn into a mud kitchen for the kids
- Decorate your fence with old photo frames or mirrors
The opportunities are endless so before you throw out that next piece of junk, think about how it might be reused in your garden first!
*Bonus Gardening Trend* - Instant Turf
And last but not least, instant lush, green turf!
No backyard garden space is complete without a patch of beautiful lawn.
At Coolabah Turf we specialise in the exclusive supply of environmentally sustainable watersmart turf grass varieties to fulfil our ‘lawn for life’ promise to every customer. Check out our instant turf varieties and get your turf online from us.