13 ways to create an eco-friendly garden

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Rethinking your garden design and like the idea of a more environmentally-friendly outdoor space? But what does a ‘green’ garden actually look like? You might imagine it to be an untamed, overgrown jungle teeming with wildflowers and insects. Nowadays, however, even the slickest contemporary garden designs can be environmentally friendly, thanks to a combination of ethically-sourced materials and innovative technology. Plan the perfect eco-friendly garden with horticulturalist Matt James’ advice.


The main concern is the origin, extraction, manufacture and installation of materials in structures, paths, walls and patios. Using recycled materials instead is a great way to go green. As reclamation yards, especially those in cities, can be expensive, trawl through out-of-town yards and junk shops for materials.

Check out eBay.co.uk and Freecycle.org – tin baths and buckets, clay pipes and old scaffolding boards can be put to good use. Recycled materials give you the chance to exercise some creativity, bringing character and time-worn charm to a setting. They also enable you to amplify your home’s identity and its design style further. Old hand-made bricks from reclamation yards work perfectly with a Victorian terraced house, for example.

‘New’ materials such as paving made from recycled concrete aggregate are now widely available (try Bradstone), so is recycled plastic decking (from Arbordeck) that is moulded to look like real wood.

Many companies now sell pots, fencing and furniture made from recycled wood and plastic. The Living Ethically Directory and the Recycled Products Guide list hundreds of them.

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