Eco Garden Design Part 1

Hello all, sorry for the delay in this post, I have been busy on new projects  I look forward to sharing with you soon…. in the meantime all of a sudden it seems like spring has sprung and thoughts are turning towards our outside spaces…….. now, how can we make those eco?

Creating a garden is like creating a room, where we use plants and trees and shrubs to create the form, balance, texture and colour that we would achieve using space planning, furniture, fabrics and accessories with interior design. The garden is a natural extension of the house and there are many eco ideas we can implement to ensure that we can do our bit for the environment on the outside as well as the inside of our homes.

I would say that Eco garden design is when we use techniques and products that improve the environment and the overall look of the garden.

Creating such an outside space is easy when you know how.  Between now and summer I will share with you this 5 part series Eco Garden Design.  I have tips for you to design your own eco garden including how to preserve water, use clever design tricks and recycled and/or natural building materials and plant maintenance without harmful chemicals, how to select the correct plants for your actual garden, use the best plants to attract the insects and birds we need to maintain things and support the local eco system and lastly all of this of course will be stunningly beautiful to look at!!

Part one is all about preserving and managing H2O


Without water we would not have life on earth never mind gardens.  In a world where there can be drought at one end of the spectrum and catastrophic flooding at the other, we can no longer deny our planet is changing so by acting now we become part of the solution and not part of the problem … right??

Gardens for pleasure first originated in the Middle East, the biblical Garden of Eden represented a lush green oasis in a time when water was a precious resource.  Fast forward a few millennia and we have come full circle with water once again viewed as a finite resource. One day it will be worth more than gold… I have this from a very respected source! 😉

Shady urban garden source Pinterest
Shady small urban garden
source Pinterest

When planning an Eco garden we should think how to capture rainwater and slow down the rate at which it is lost to the public drainage system.  We need to do this because not only is rainwater is far better for our gardens that treated drinking water but also we need to reduce the amount of flash flooding that is happening because there is too much hard landscaping in our towns and cities.  Rainwater is also free!!


In the garden above the pea gravel allows water to seep into the garden instead of running off into drains and the variety of trees and plants provide a shady cool spot in the summer plus great diversity for the local wildlife.

Rainwater can be easily collected from your drainpipes leading down from the roof in a wide variety of butts….

Rain water collection butt source
Rain water collection butt
recycled barrel water butt source
recycled barrel water butt

more practical when hidden from view could be …

Slimline water butt 235 L source
Slimline water butt 235 L

If you are very handy or know someone who likes a challenge….. you could build your own and hide it behind some wicker panels….


DIY Rainwater Butt source The Family Handyman
DIY Rainwater Butt
source The Family Handyman

You could even consider to make an underground tank if you have a lot of garden to water, however chemicals may be required to keep the water pure so perhaps it is a false economy?

For assessing the size of water butt you require depends on the size of roof you have and the average rainfall in your area.  Consult your local environment agency for guidelines on Rain Water Harvesting (RWH)  for the UK Govt.  RWH source here

Collecting rainwater is a great way to have a free source to water your garden, however, if you get a lot or rain that can also be a problem…  flash flooding can occur because there is too much hard landscaping with many people choosing to concrete over of front gardens for parking and inadequate drains on roads etc.. a good way to control the rainwater if you have some space is to build a swale.  This also keeps the boggy part of your garden in one place allowing the other areas to remain dry.

swale allows run off rainwater to collect and enjoyed by water loving plants source
swale allows run off rainwater to collect and enjoyed by water loving plants
plant selection for swale source pinterest
plant selection for swale source pinterest
swale build to use run off rainwater
swale build to use run off rainwater source pinterest

when considering a parking area for your car these are a good option…

parking pavers photo
parking pavers photo


Hard landscaping is really a no-no these days as there are so many ways to provide drainage for rainwater…. In fact many local councils are bringing in planning conditions that stipulates drainage between pavers.

Using gravel and pavers with gaps and permeable membranes beneath to prevent weeds you can make lovely pathways through your garden whether you opt for traditional or modern styling.  It can also prove to be cost effective especially if you use recycled materials.  Always ensure there are gaps and this will prevent flooding and aid the melting to snow/ice in winter.  You can create gorgeous bespoke original designs for your garden!

gravel and pavers photos courtesy Giardina
gravel and pavers
photo courtesy Giardina
broken paver pathway with gravel photo courtesy Giardina
broken paver pathway with gravel photo courtesy Giardina

I hope this has sparked your interest in how you can save/use rainwater in your garden this summer, and perhaps pull up some of the grass which is a mud maker in the winter and needs constant watering in the summer and replace with some lovely pea gravel and pavers!

Thanks for reading.

Amanda x









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