Garden designer Angela Arrowsmith shares some eco-friendly time-saving tips and explains why a good landscaper will save you money
1. Go professional
Landscape design requires lateral thinking and years of experience so employing a talented designer will pay off in the end. It might mean paying more in the beginning but will end up saving you money in the long run. Head to builderscrack.co.nz to post your job and pick the tradie best suited for your needs.
2. Want to reduce your workload?
Go eco. The interest in organic gardening is growing as we become aware of the changes we can make as individuals. Eco-friendly gardening also reduces your garden workload.
3. Get composting
One of the best ways to improve your garden’s health is to compost. When leaves break down, they create compost which in turn increases plant health and moisture retention (meaning less irrigation) and suppresses weeds. So collect fallen leaves and hedge clippings and place them around your plants – soon your plants will be thriving with the free nutrients. Having a compost bin for your leaves, clippings and weeds (that are not in seed) is a great way to reduce garden waste and add organic matter back into the soil.
4. One year seed, seven years’ weed
Weeds look unsightly and remove nutrients from the soil so a great way to use them to your benefit and restore nutrients to the earth is to simply pull them out and shake off the soil. Leave them to dry out so they can no longer photosynthesise. This method works really well for most weeds as long as they’re not in seed. However, noxious weeds need to be disposed of properly. Look for a reliable landscaper/gardener to sort it out for you – builderscrack.co.nz has a cost estimator to ensure that you stay within budget. As the saying goes, “One year’s seed, seven years’ weed” so being on top of your game can save you a lot of work later.
5. Is weedmat a good idea?
Weedmat creates a barrier, making it hard for organic matter, oxygen and water to penetrate. But plants planted in holes in the weedmat miss out on vital nutrients, meaning they can’t grow to their full potential and often end up diseased. The effect of weedmat on the soil also means your plants may be thirstier which costs you and the environment more in the long run (in terms of extra watering). Weedmat can be great on a path or to kill really persistent weeds by starving them of light, but it’s not doing you any favours when used in garden beds.
6. Say no to herbicides and insecticides
By avoiding herbicides and insecticides you help out our lovely wildlife, improve the all-round health of your garden and, most importantly of all, help save your own health. Scientific evidence links many commonly used garden sprays to serious human health issues as well as bee colony collapse so it’s well worth it to find a safer alternative. You can smother weeds with bark mulch or fallen leaves and plant up those gaps. Healthy plants fight off pests and diseases naturally, meaning there’s no need for those nasty insecticides.
7. Hard landscaping elements can make or break your garden
When it comes to decks and fences, choosing the right materials is paramount. It’s always best to go for quality timber for decking and to think about the shade as it can dramatically alter the space. Light timbers give an open feel while darker or warmer timber can create a very intimate space and form dramatic colour contrasts with planting. Tell your tradie the specific look you’re after to ensure you get the right outcome. When you upload your job onto builderscrack.co.nz you can put in all the specific details so the best-suited tradies can put their hands up.
8. Brilliant backdrop
Charcoal paint is a popular choice for fences as it does a great job of setting off foliage and modernising the space. Natural concrete finishes are another favourite as they create crisp and natural-looking stairs, paths and walls.
We’ve noticed a rise in people interested in incorporating planters into their decks – both ornamental plants and edibles look beautiful, and edibles are practical, too. Choosing the right plants for these is really important as the planters dry out easily, so irrigation may be required.
10. Kiwis love natives
It’s always desirable to have native plants in the landscape. Replicating a more controlled form of native bush, or balancing natives with exotics, stirs up nostalgia as well as being practical for our environment.
We found Angela Arrowsmith via builderscrack.co.nz, an online marketplace where homeowners can post jobs, and builders and tradespeople can chase jobs, provide quotes and win work.
Words by: Kristina Rapley. Photography by: Jane Dove Juneau. Portrait by: Bauer Media Group Studio.