The practice of eco-design in the garden is not just about conserving water and reusing old pots; it’s about creating a garden that sustains your local ecosystem, benefits native wildlife, and reduces your carbon footprint. Designing an eco-friendly garden is also a practice in awareness, and is a process that will likely elevate your mood and physical health. Here are some ways you can start incorporating some eco-design practices into your Powell River garden this spring and why they matter.
What Are Some Sustainable Eco Design Practices?
Gardening in 2023 is not what it was twenty years ago: in our rapidly-changing world, people are looking for new ways to use their garden spaces to benefit both the environment and their own mental health. However, before we can begin creating our own unique eco-design in our garden, we need to first understand a few of its key underlying principles:
Observing which critters are dropping by your garden is a great first step to take when deciding how to incorporate eco-design practices! For instance, birds are a common sight year-round in Powell River. Birds are crucial for a healthy local ecosystem, as they eat insects that might damage crops. They’re also peaceful, exciting to watch, and fill your garden with soul-satisfying songs all year.
So, it’s important to know which birds are visiting you, their main food sources, and how you can help them during the long, cold winters. Then, when you consider your garden’s design, find ways to incorporate a variety of bird feeders with high-energy seeds and nuts, water features like bird baths and fountains, and even birdhouses for nesting birds in the spring. Many local birds will stick around for a good food source in Powell River, so you can adjust your feeding seasonally as required.
Depending on where you live in B.C., you may also regularly see frogs, lizards, raccoons, rabbits, and deer, as well as a host of local pollinators checking out your selection of flowering plants. When planning an eco-design, look for plants that are rich in nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Some flowers also serve as host plants for butterflies and allow them to lay their eggs right in your garden, making them must-have additions to any eco-friendly garden design!
You might not be terribly keen on having insects in your garden, but trust us: you need them! Insects attract droves of songbirds to your backyard in search of protein, and if you have the room to create a pond in your eco garden design, insects will make an important food source for those frogs who are certain to stop by and make themselves at home. If you do end up with bug problems on your plants, there are plenty of natural, eco-friendly ways to remove them without the use of harsh chemicals.
Obviously, we all have different weather patterns to deal with these days, and equally obvious is that weather is not as predictable as it once was. Pay close attention to your seasonal weather patterns to help you better plan and prepare for storms, heavy rainfall, drought, and early frost. Knowing what to plant and when is crucial to keeping your eco-design as beneficial as possible.
It’s good to use hardiness zones as a jumping-off point when buying plants, but just because a plant can tolerate our Powell River climate doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be a good fit in your garden! A large part of properly incorporating eco-design practices in the garden is understanding your local ecology and the plants that are native to the area. It’s also crucial to consider which native wildflowers serve as host plants for insects and pollinators, and whether they have any associated companion plants.
What Are Some Other Examples of Eco Design Practices?
Some of the most effective eco-design practices are ones you can easily work into your garden’s daily care. Not only are these small changes easy to make, but they also benefit everyone—even the ladybugs! Here are a few examples:
- Collect rainwater and water less often
- Make your own compost or leaf mould
- Reduce the size of your lawn and instead plant more diverse native plants
- Create a wildflower garden for pollinators
- Collect plant seeds at the end of the blooming season and reuse them next year
- Grow your own food and incorporate companion planting!
You won’t find anything more satisfying than creating a garden that is both beautiful and beneficial to nature, and these top eco-design practices should hopefully help you get started. However, if you’re ever in doubt, or if you’d like some more ideas, we’re always here to help!
Stop by and visit us at Mother Nature in Powell River, BC, today; we’ll be happy to help you turn your dream eco-friendly garden design into a reality!