When we think of an ‘eco friendly garden’ We’re sure the first thing that springs to mind is wild flowers, burgeoning hedgerows, insect houses and rattan furniture. If we’re honest you would be right. Creating a sustainable and eco friendly garden is all about being kind and giving back to mother nature.
We would like to clear up however, that an untamed garden is not the only way to be eco friendly. You could have a sleek and sophisticated, or even contemporary outdoor space, that is eco-friendly. We would say that when thinking about creating an eco friendly garden there are three main areas of focus:
- Plants – concerning what you grow and the chemicals you use
- Insect and wildlife – creating an environment that not only welcomes species but supports them to flourish
- Recycling – making the most of what you have to ensure that nothing goes to waste, this could be from composting to utilising old objects as ornaments
Whilst this is all great, one key area that almost everyone overlooks is how our gardens and outdoor spaces can impact the water cycle. When we think of incorporating water into our gardens, most people will jump to a pond or water feature (which is great for wildlife), or potentially, at a stretch, a water butt to collect and reuse rain water for watering plants. But very few consider the impact on the surrounding environment of the surfaces and materials we use in the harder landscape of our gardens.
The water cycle
As touched on in our previous blog which highlighted the benefits of gravel grids, rain water run-off has become an increasing issue in our modern world, with towns and cities built in such a way that create barriers and ‘rushpoints’ in the natural water cycle. Where water once reached the ground’s surface and permeated slowly (and naturally) through the ground making its way to rivers and streams, it now hits impermeable man-made surfaces such as tarmac, paving, roofs, gutters and more. Here, the water picks up a swathe of debris and pollutants, chemicals, oil and gasoline, animal faeces and more on its journey to the water system either natural or our man-made centres.
The effect of water run-off:
Human impact - we are impacted by flashpoints and flooding caused as waterways can no longer handle the speed at which the water reaches them, often bursting river banks or flooding streets.
Environmental impact - floods have a large impact on the surrounding environment and vegetation particularly due to the pollutants that are now in the water that would usually have been cleansed by natural permeation and filtration.
What can we do to solve the problem of rainwater run-off?
Rain water run off has become a real problem and one that institutions and local authorities across the globe are battling against. Tom Turner Landscape architect and garden historian said “Sustainability if intelligently conceived, could heal the rift between garden landscape and urban design”.
Using gravel surfaces in our gardens is a small yet smart solution that almost everyone can apply to provide an immediate impact, aiding permeation but also cleansing and filtering the rainwater. However, when considering gravel surfaces many must take into consideration the human element, such as accessibility with gravel often hindering those with limited accessibility.
This is one area in particular that gravel grids can help. Gravel grids provide a stable surface that reduces the shift and movement of gravel, making it a safer and more usable surface for wheelchair users, while also ensuring a firm and secure surfaces for vehicles too. ECCOGRAVEL our unique gravel grid system offers further benefits in terms of reducing rain water runoff. The fully bonded membrane allows the gravel grid to hold water within the system, reducing run off in heavy downfalls and supporting natural permeation.
Gravel surfaces in gardens is an easy, impactful way of reducing rain water runoff
Gravel grids are the hidden secret to eco friendly gardens that support the natural water cycle and reduce rainwater runoff. They create a solution that perfectly balances the human and environmental needs of our modern landscapes.