A natural approach to gardening

nature in the garden

When it comes to gardening there are as many different styles and approaches as there are people. From manicured lawns to paved patios, from wild jungles to meadowland flowers – your garden style is as unique as you are.

However, if you want to keep your garden as close to nature as possible there are few things to bear in mind – such as use of chemicals and considering ways to help attract in the local wildlife.

Here are some areas to take into consideration for a natural approach to gardening:

1. Don’t use bought fertiliser

If you want to encourage your plants to go then it’s important to make sure your soil is full of nutrients and it can be tempting to resort to shop bought chemical-based products but this is not a good approach for a natural garden so you should avoid buying fertiliser in the garden centres.

2. Start composting

The best form of fertiliser you can use on your plants is one that you make yourself by starting to compost your own garden and kitchen waste. It’s easy to do, costs you no money and is great for your garden.

Once you start you will have an endless supply of compost which you can use every time you plant new plants into your garden, creating a nice, rich nutrient-filled soil for them to grow in.

3. Make your own mulch

You can also create your own mulch to help feed your plants by using grass clippings from your lawn as these are full of nitrogen. If you don’t have a lawn then ask your neighbours to save them for you – it’s another free and easy way to help support your garden in a totally natural way. Just make sure the places you get the clippings from don’t use any nasty chemicals on their lawns.

4. Encourage bird life

A natural garden is one where pest control is carried out by Mother Nature so make sure your garden is attractive to birds by providing a regular supply of food, water and suitable nesting spaces. You can even add bird baths and bird tables for a much more appeal, online sources like this can be a good place to start.

That way you get to enjoy watching the birds out of your window and they get a regular supply of food from you as well as making yummy meals out of all the insects which thrive in your natural garden.

5. Grow a variety of plants

In nature you rarely find just one type of plant – they all grow together in various combinations so for your garden to be natural, you need to make it diverse. Grow a variety of flowering plants, leafy plants, fruit and vegetables and this will also help with natural pest control as well. You can also use the variety of plants you grow to control the insects you attract – only plant those which don’t attract pests, for example.

6. Provide regular water

In the summer months you will need to water your garden but there are some natural ways to help keep this requirement to a minimum to reduce the environmental impact of using up lots of water.

Adding natural mulch on top of your soil will help to keep the moisture in the soil for a lot longer, keeping your garden wetter for longer so you will need to water it far less. You can also set up a rain barrel to capture natural rain water to be recycled for watering the garden.

Garden sprinklers use less water than a hosepipe so if you have a large garden you might want to consider using a sprinkler system.

7. Add a pond

For a really natural garden which helps to sustain local wildlife you should think about adding a pond to your garden. It provides a lovely natural area for you to sit and relax while reading a book in the summer but also helps to support local wildlife such as frogs and newts.

Ponds can be large or small and can really add the wow factor to a garden and don’t require too much work to keep them clean and attractive. Having some kind of moving water such as a mini waterfall or water feature can also help to attract birds as they like to bathe in it.

There are many things to think about when adopting a natural approach to gardening but by recycling grass clippings, leaves and other garden waste to create mulch and compost you will be halfway there.

It’s a case of avoiding the nasty harsh chemicals which people often rely on to make their lawns greener or to kill weeds and you might have to spend more time out there clearing the weeds but your garden will thank you for not using them. Attracting wildlife is another way to create a very natural garden, and if you attract birds they will act as your natural pest controllers so it’s a win-win.