Top Tips for Creating a Stylish and Sustainable Outdoor Space

With more time spent at home due to the pandemic, more Brits have turned towards gardening as a hobby and way of creating an outdoor sanctuary to soak up the sun, host friends and get some much-needed fresh air in the spring and summer months. 

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A 2020 survey by Trex® Company, the #1 name and leader in high-performance, low-maintenance outdoor living products, found that 97% of people thought it important that their home has an attractive and inviting outdoor area – and that certainly remains true this year. Since outdoor entertaining is one of the best ways to see family and friends, it’s never been more important to give your garden the love it needs.

As Brits fall back in love with their gardens, National Gardening Week 2021 (April 26 to May 2) is expected to be a big celebration with a growing generation of gardeners and more people than ever before looking for tips, tricks and inspiration. 

“When it comes to upgrading a garden, sustainability and upkeep are two key priorities that drive design decisions,” says Karl Harrison, a TrexPro deck installer and founder of Karl Harrison Landscapes. “As homeowners’ focus shifts outdoors, they want to be able spend their time enjoying – not maintaining – an outdoor space that looks good and is good to the planet.”

Trex Company and Harrison share top tips for creating an eco-friendly, low-maintenance garden.

Plant the Seed for Low Maintenance. 

Cultivating a beautiful garden doesn’t have to be time consuming. One of the easiest ways to reduce landscaping labour is to grow plants that require less watering such as shrubs and perennials. In addition, look for plants that have disease resistance, can take the heat and the cold, and don’t need to be staked. Location is also key, so be sure to give plants the right amount of sunlight and elbow room. There’s nothing worse than planting a shrub you must constantly prune to make it fit your space. 

“Planting low-maintenance green plants form the basis of long-term eco-systems,” adds Harrison. “They remove carbon dioxide from the air and generate oxygen, as well as provide sun protection for soil and animals and function as a valuable part of the food web for many insects, birds and small animals.”

Grow a Vertical Garden.

A popular style, especially within smaller spaces, is to create a vertical garden, with plants growing upwards. Vertical gardens can be created by building a frame against a wall or fence and selecting from the several types of plants which hang or climb such as vines, sweet peas and roses.

Edibles also work well, such as tomatoes and squash. This style serves as an attractive, artful addition to your space, freeing up valuable ground without compromising on greenery. For low-maintenance gardening, consider adding a drip irrigation system so you don’t have to worry about watering.  

Attract Pollinators.

Having colourful and scented plants will encourage nature to thrive on your doorstep. If you want to be in the know at the garden centre, ask for Bush Vetch,’ which is known for its tiny purple flowers, or ‘Persian Slipper’ and ‘Limoncello’ for vertical splendor. Lavender and roses look great hanging over the edge of planters; whilst everything else is growing up, these grow down. All of these flowers attract valuable pollinators, helping support the vital role bees play in our environment and keeping your garden flourishing.  

Make Gardening more Comfortable.

Raised beds add levels to your garden and the comfortable height means you can more easily tend to plants and shrubs. Plus, raised garden beds are easy to maintain as compost and other soil conditioners can go directly on top, eliminating the need for digging year to year. In recent years, gardeners have become creative by upcycling containers for planters and building the raised bed from recycled or scrap materials, such as leftover decking, to blend seamlessly with a garden deck. 

Add a Pond.

A pond is a great way to add character and serenity to your garden, while benefiting the environment by attracting wildlife and conserving water. Ponds also can provide a cool spot on a hot day, serve as an eye-catching garden feature and reduce noise pollution with the addition of a waterfall. Once a pond is installed, you can have fun adding beautiful plants and aquatic creatures.

Build an Eco-friendly, Low-maintenance Deck.

Make sure you can enjoy the fruits of your labour by creating a space to take in the view. For the beautiful look of timber without the upkeep, consider Trex composite decking. Unlike timber, composites resist fading, staining, scratching and mould, and require no sanding, staining or painting.

Just a quick soap and water cleaning is all that’s needed to keep it looking brand new. Plus, the lack of harmful chemicals needed to produce and maintain Trex decking makes it a safer choice for humans, animals and the environment.

Adding to its appeal, the entire high-performance decking portfolio is made from 95% reclaimed timber scrap and recycled plastic film from a variety of common household items such as grocery bags and bubble wrap – meaning Trex has never cut down a tree to make its products. In fact, Trex repurposes more than 385 million kilos of plastic waste and timber scrap annually in the making of its high-performance products. 

For clients who want an eco-friendly option with minimal maintenance, Trex is a no-brainer. Composite decking will stand the test of time and will look like new even after harsh British winters.