As recent extreme weather conditions and flooding have increased in frequency, the importance of reducing our environmental impact has grown. There are an estimated 30 million gardeners in the UK, all of whom can combat some of the most urgent threats to our planet – climate change, diminishing biodiversity, and social challenges. So how and why should we create more sustainable gardens?
Changing Relationships with the Outdoors
Years of recent lockdowns have caused the public to reassess their relationship with their local outdoor spaces. A recent ONS survey stated that ‘nature has been a source of solace for many as lockdown rules have heightened our appreciation for local parks and green spaces.’
This growing awareness of climate change has culminated in a desire to make sustainability a key priority in garden designs, a movement that has been coined as ‘the sustainable garden aesthetic’.
The Royal Horticultural Society has highlighted four ways in which the public can turn their garden into a sustainable natural haven, instructing their members to:
- Look after the soil
- Manage water
- Plant for the environment
- Prevent pollution
The landscape and horticultural industry have a vital role to play in this drive for sustainable gardens. Designers and landscape contractors are the first port of call for clients and can encourage them to strike a good balance between hard and soft landscaping, take advantage of local resources, and encourage biodiversity with pollinator planting.
Topics such as water management, biodiversity, and ecology conservation are beginning to filter through to homeowners and developers.
There has been a marked increase in requests for sustainable drainage systems (SUDs) that can collect rainwater, and organisations such as ACO are encouraging landscape designers to make sustainable solutions a top priority when delivering future projects.
Planting for the Changing Climate
In recent years, growers and nurseries have seen an increase in demand for bee and wildlife friendly plants and wildflowers, as well as plants that can withstand the extreme weather events the country has been experiencing of late.
There has also been a rise in demand for community gardens and planting schemes that encourage biodiversity since the pandemic began.
The rise of wildflowers and pollinator planting has replaced the need for large, ‘supersized trees’, which have serious environmental consequences due to issues with transportation.
Ultimately, the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis that is facing our generation enables the landscaping industry to create positive consequences through its garden designs, material choices and planting schemes. Gardens that are built and nurtured with sustainability at their forefront will be a big part of the solution to climate change.
Environmental Responsibility at 4th Corner
We know that our activities impact our environment, and it is our responsibility to minimise the negative impacts of our work and focus on ways to make a positive contribution to our landscapes.
Practices such as hedge trimming, strimming, grass cutting, and regular weeding can reduce and damage wildlife habitats. Improving established landscapes and landscape development requires careful consideration and expert knowledge.
Having the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System enables 4th Corner to comply with stringent environmental laws and regulations and gives us the knowledge and experience to be able to offer our clients environmentally responsible solutions to landscape maintenance and management.
Since 2012 we have made planting for biodiversity a central theme in all our planting and landscaping projects and we now offer all our clients simple cost-effective ways to improve the biodiversity of their sites through our “Biodiversity Packs”.
You can find out more about 4th Corner Biodiversity Packs on our Biodiversity Packs page.