Here at The Southwest London Gardener, we pride ourselves on being natural gardeners.
If you’ve found your way to this guide through our home page, you will have already read our title of ‘The Natural Landscaper’.
But this term can be confusing.
When outdoors, surrounded by greenery and wildlife, surely there’s nothing unnatural about it?
Well, you may be surprised.
And that’s why we wrote you this handy guide on just what makes our gardening natural, and how you can do the same.
Let’s check it out.
What is Natural Gardening?
At its essence, natural gardening is the designing, landscaping and growing of gardens in ways that are natural and organic.
This contains using sustainable materials and avoiding things such as chemicals and single-use items.
Maintaining a garden isn’t easy, and it can be tempting to cut corners when it comes to using natural materials.
You see that weed popping up in the middle of your lawn, it’s much easier to reach for the chemical solution rather than the organic one.
Every member of our team shares a passion for the environment, and this gives us all a real sense of determination to put natural design and landscaping at the forefront of every project we undertake.
So, how do we do that?
Well, here are five methods that we regularly use, and that you can too.
Five Methods on How to Garden Naturally
There are several natural garden solutions that are essential for anyone looking to maintain this type of garden. Including:
Grow Your Own Produce
When thinking about organic gardening, one of the first things to pops into someone’s mind is the idea of growing your own food.
And there’s a reason for that.
It’s a great way of naturally producing food and cuts down on many things that may harm the environment, such as pesticides that are used when mass growing produce, and plastic which is often used to package these items when in a shop.
Not only that, it boosts physical health by keeping you active and pushing you to eat healthier (people who grow their own fruit and veg consume a whopping 40% more healthy food than households that don’t) and also comes packed with mental health benefits such as a drop in anxiety and stress.
What’s not to love?
Remove Your Waste the Right Way
How you dispose of your waste is a big thing when it comes to maintaining a natural garden.
Gardens are full of waste, and there’s even more when going through a renovation when you may be perfoming acts such as tree stump removal and chopping down trees, so what should you do with it?
Well, the simple answer is to recycle it.
Your green waste consists of things such as branches, leaves, grass clipping and much more. You can even add food waste into the mix.
This can all be recycled and turned into compost to provide nutrients and protection to your plants in the future.
Whether using it in your own garden or sending it off to be recycled by the council, don’t let these items that are packed with benefits for your garden go to waste.
And if you want to know more, why not check out our guide to green waste removal?
Pick the Right Plants
Your choice of plants can have a big impact on your natural garden.
Try and pick plants that are built to grow well in the environment of your garden.
Plants such as marigolds, petunias and rosemary all come packed with smells and sights that keep some pests away and therefore reduce the need for pesticide.
Chrysanthemums are great for keeping pests away, and the flower is even used in some bug repellents because it’s so good!
And if you want flowers that will be minimum maintenance, and come back stronger every year, keep an eye out for some beautiful perennials such as lily of the valley.
Don’t Be Afraid to Up-Cycle
We’re back onto recycling now, but this is a bit different to reusing your green waste.
Gardens are full of things. If you’ve just moved house and are working on the garden, maybe you want to knock down a shed, or rip up a patio.
Alternatively, you may be throwing away a storage box you once kept inside, or a table and chairs.
The key to natural gardening is to avoid waste, so let your imagination run wild and see what you can do with the materials in your pile that are heading to the skip.
Things like decking could be used to make planting boxes.
Old paving slabs come make a nice path through the garden.
If you’re lucky enough to have spare garden sleepers knocking around, then the possibilities of what you can do are endless!
Use the Right Materials
To keep naturally gardening, you have to make sure you are using the right materials.
We use materials such as stone and wood that are perfect for creating an organic garden.
This project we undertook in Wandsworth showcases some of the great ways we use wood (such as decking boards) to create much more than decking.
Something like wood is renewable and when responsibly sourced, is perfect for our ethos.
And while we’re on this topic, let’s take a look at what to use when naturally gardening.
Best Materials to Use in a Natural Garden
- Wood – As we’ve just mentioned, wood is a natural resource that can be used in many different ways throughout a garden. Why not try building natural garden furniture out of something like bamboo (the fastest growing plant on earth according to the Guinness Book of World Records). Keep an eye out for the FSC logo which means the wood has been sourced ethically and responsibly.
- Stone – Using natural stone has plenty of benefits. From adding a striking visual effect and working as a great separator when zoning your garden, to lasting for years and blocking out sunlight to minimise weeds, this is a great substance to use in your natural garden design. From pavers to features, stone is responsibly sourced and hardly needs replacing, which is why we love using it so much such as in this East Sheen modern garden renovation.
- Plants – This may sound obvious, but there are plenty of ways plants can be used. If you have a wall you would like to cover, then no need to paint it when you can cover it in growing plants. Or if you have a pergola and would like a bit of a roof to protect you from the sun, then why not let a spot of greenery do the trick? Plants look great, add bursts of colour to a garden, and are great fun to tend for, so this might be the best material of them all. Just look at how we used plants to create a focal point and a spot of shade and decoration to a pergola in this Wimbledon garden.
The Pest Control Problem
One thing that is tough when maintaining a natural garden, is pest control.
Some good ways of getting rid of pests naturally, is by attracting their predators such as birds and hedgehogs (creating shelter through this with green waste such as twigs and leaves is a great method of recycling these materials).
Try and focus on planting the right plants, of which we listed some above, and always keep an eye out for areas that look like they may be suffering from an infestation, as these can then be removed by hand.
Try and work out which pests are affecting your lawn and work out ways to stop them. For example, slugs can be slowed down by barriers or traps in which they can be caught and moved on. You may only have one kind of pest wreaking havoc, so focussing on what stops this rather than an all-round approach may be best.
Keeping your garden environmentally friendly is tough.
When it comes to natural garden design, you have to focus on the materials you are using. When it comes to landscaping, try and use methods that involve reusing materials and avoiding chemicals.
If you want more information on how you can have a natural garden, or want a free, no-obligation quote on a garden renovation, then get in touch with The Southwest London Gardener team today.