It has been a little while since I talked about wildlife gardening so this week I thought I’d write about greening our front gardens and why it affects more than just the environment around us. For example, did you know that hard surfacing such as driveways can contribute to flooding and increase local temperatures? I am not suggesting we get rid of driveways but it is still possible to have a some green in the garden whilst also having space for your car.
Currently around 1 in 4 front gardens in the UK are nearly completely paved over and 1 in 3 are devoid of plants. Benefits of a green front garden include – preventing flooding by soaking up summer storm rains, providing homes to up to 260 species of wildlife (insects, birds etc), absorbing pollutants and helping us to breath easily, keeping us cool in summer and helping insulate our homes in winter and making us feel good when we arrive home.
As with most things, it is about creating a balance between hard landscaping and a green planting. Things we can do include using porous materials to pave our drives which will allow water to soak away into the ground. Other things to do include planting climbers at the front of your house such as clematis, having a hedge along your fence line and even planting underneath where your car would be parked with hardy low growing plants such as thyme and saxifrage.
The Royal Horticultural Society launched a ‘Greening Grey Britain’ campaign last year and they have lots of interesting and useful information available on their website. You can even make a promise to plant something in your front garden from a tree to a plant in a container. Can you just imagine the effect if everyone did something to make their gardens a little greener!
Laura Preston, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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