Let’s be real, there’s a day for celebrating pretty much everything, from national ‘bring your dog to work day’, ‘crazy hair day’, to ‘International talk like a pirate day’, …ok, that last one is a little left-field but in all seriousness, when it comes to environmental awareness – were all in!

Since 1970, Earth Day has been marked annually on April 22nd, with this year’s theme focusing on Restoring Our Earth. In Australia, Earth Day may not be overly familiar to many of us, however it is widely celebrated. In fact, over 193 countries around the world have their own version of Earth Day festivities. Taking that into account, Shaw Landscape Group have jumped aboard the global bandwagon to raise awareness in celebration of the event’s 51st anniversary.

In the words of Barbara Mikulski “Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change”. At Shaw Landscape Group, we believe that the environment is integral to our own health and wellbeing and that we can all play a part in unique and different ways to help make a difference. So we’ve put together some proactive Earth Day ideas to inspire you.

What can you do in your garden at home this Earth Day 2021?

Plant a tree

According to Bioenergy International, only a third of the world’s tropical rainforest remains intact. So get out and plant a tree. Trees are a great source of carbon reduction, habitat for many fauna and flora and importantly, give off oxygen. Be sure to choose the right tree for your location and chat to your local nursery.

Introduce natives

Native plants are durable and adapt naturally to our regions environment, meaning less watering, fertilising, and chemical treatments. By choosing to grow native plants in your garden, you’re not only benefiting yourself, but also the local wildlife and the environment.

Deciduous planting

A deciduous tree or shrub is one which sheds its leaves seasonally. By strategically planting West facing deciduous trees or shrubs around your window, balcony or living area, you can create a cooling shade barrier in summer and also allow warmth and light in during winter. Who needs air conditioners anyway? Also, when the leaves drop in autumn, they will flourish in the soil and keep your deciduous tree nice and healthy during it’s dormant months.

Composting 

Reduce landfill and create a nutrient rich soil for your plants by making a compost pile in your backyard. Why not try recycling coffee grounds, egg shells, food scraps, old newspapers, cardboard, lawn clippings and leaf litter into a compost bin? Make sure to avoid meat, citrus and onion because they are too acidic and may attract unwanted pests.

Mulch your garden 

One of the best ways to retain moisture in your garden is to mulch. Regularly mulching your garden beds will keep your plants happy and healthy and also reduce the need for watering. Mulch also decreases the growth of pesky weeds and the breakdown of good bacteria from mulch will help to feed your soil.

Go green with your hardscaping 

Eco friendly and natural landscaping products such as recycled brick for garden edging, reclaimed timber for outdoor entertaining areas, as well as using up-cycled metal, pavers or aggregate are the perfect ‘green’ hardscaping alternatives. Opt for recycled plastics or sustainably harvested materials for fencing and even decks. Brands such as Ekodeck make their products from recycled materials such as plastic bags and bottles which would otherwise end up in landfill.

Conserve water 

Go tech in your garden by installing an under mulch, drip line irrigation system. These smart irrigation systems avoid wasting water by means of a ground sensor to determine moisture levels in the surrounding area. You can also explore the idea of sourcing water for your irrigation system from rainwater tanks. Drought tolerant landscaping is another option to help conserve water. Try planting more hearty succulent varieties in your garden such as Agaves. They are easy to grow and look pretty cool too. Succulents store water in their roots and leaves and keep hydrated for longer.

Organic substitutes 

What can be detrimental to your garden is the over use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. Take the time to do your research and go for natural and chemical free alternatives. There are plenty on the market these days that are affordable and can do the job.

Edible landscaping AKA ‘foodscaping’ 

Grow an edible vegetable or herb garden. It’s good fun for the kids and can help to reduce the demand on broad acre farming. Start small and with a few herbs such as rosemary, mint and basil as they are more resistant to pests. From there, you should feel more confident to experiment with some of the trickier fruits and vegetables such as silverbeet, zucchini, radishes, squash, cucumber, spring onions and cherry tomatoes.

Introduce more garden beds

If mowing is not your thing, then swap out your turf for more easy to maintain garden beds. This will reduce the amount of energy mowing requires, eliminating the need for fuel and ultimately help to reduce your carbon footprint. That sounds like a win-win for everyone!

Install a bird feeder 

Bird watching is a popular pastime for many, so why not bring birdlife to your yard by installing a birdhouse or feeder. This is something the kids will most definitely enjoy. Not only do birds eat the insects that can harm your garden, but they assist with flower pollination to support a healthy plant ecosystem.

Of course, at Shaw Landscape Group we believe that every day should be ‘Earth Day’, so it’s vital that we continue to raise awareness and appreciate our environment. What green practices are you going to implement this Earth day 2021?

Plant a tree. Header image Credit: The Tree Centre