A survey of over 15,000 respondents by Wyevale Garden Centres found that 67 per cent of people considered themselves to be eco-conscious gardeners. With sustainable gardening on the rise, how can installers create outdoor spaces that are environment and enjoyment friendly? Nick Cowley, managing director at aluminium building product supplier, Endurawood, explains how.
Gardens in the UK cover a combined area of nearly 430,000 hectares, which is double the size of Luxemburg. With great size comes great potential, which is why it’s important to take measures to improve the impact of gardens on the environment.
Gardens hold great potential to increase UK biodiversity by providing stepping stones between larger green areas, such as parks and nature reserves. As such, gardens must be adapted to accommodate visiting wildlife.
Areas of pure grass provide ample space for garden activities, such as lounging and outdoor games, but do not significantly boost biodiversity. To break a perfect balance between enjoyment and environment, grass areas can be broken up with flower beds. Using building materials to create a raised bed will prevent the flowers encroaching onto the grass area, ensuring minimal maintenance to the owner.
Sowing wildflower patches has become an increasingly popular, and easy, way to add colour to a garden with minimal preening required. The biodiverse patches provide a sheltered habitat for wildlife and attract pollinators. This is especially important as many bee species are either regionally extinct or threatened in the UK.
Another way to improve garden aesthetics while also making the garden more environmentally friendly is to install a garden pond. Water features create a relaxing garden atmosphere that many garden owners desire. Fortunately, garden ponds are equally attractive to local wildlife.
Frogs, birds, dragonflies and many other animals are attracted to a pond ecosystem. Amphibians are particularly in need of more areas of water, as many populations and species are endangered or in decline.
As well as natural elements, many gardeners are looking for other features to enhance the aesthetics and enjoyability of their garden. Decking has become popular as an area for alfresco dining and entertaining, fencing provides sectioning and privacy while pergolas provide shade to lounge under on sunny days.
While considering a garden’s impact on the local wildlife is important, eco-conscious gardeners must also consider the wider environmental impacts of the building materials they use.
Aluminium boasts one of the highest recycling rates of any metal, and its ability to be recycled repeatedly without losing its original properties makes it an ideal candidate for the circular economy. Recycling aluminium only requires five per cent of the energy used to create it, meaning recycling one tonne of aluminium saves five tonnes of bauxite and 15,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity.
Endurawood is an aluminium building product with a woodgrain finish. Endurawood products are 100 per cent recyclable and are made using volatile organic compound (VOC) free coatings and lead-free finishes. Unlike traditional wood, aluminium is non-warping, insect proof and weather resistant. Endurawood’s specially developed exterior grade paint topcoat is baked on, which provides resistance to chipping flaking and blistering.
Endurawood provides the perfect durable material for outdoor applications like decking, fencing and pergolas. Its low weight and ergonomically designed joining systems make Endurawood simple to install. What’s more, Endurawood is non-combustible and slip resistant to ensure high safety, and only requires regular washing to maintain it’s sleek appearance — no harsh chemical treatments.
Gardeners are becoming more eco-conscious, and are looking for outdoor options that are environmentally friendly but don’t sacrifice the enjoyment and usability of the space. By incorporating raised flower beds, ponds and features made using sustainable materials, installers can provide solutions that meet the eco-garden trend.