Although I am known as a passionate green-living advocate, I will always be a creative at heart and, as such, as well as being constantly excited to learn, research and write about the many fantastic eco products that ingenious minds around the world produce, I am always super keen to get creating myself.
So, after months of researching, being introduced to and pinning lots of fabulous green garden products and ideas, I’ve finally started work on building my very own sustainable garden design.
Recycling inspired garden design
Using recycling and it’s circular journey (recovery, reuse, repurpose, recycle, recovery) as my inspiration, the aim of my garden design is to (hopefully) show how we can get the maximum value out of different products and create a beautiful, yet inexpensive garden that is easy to achieve with minimal DIY skills and most importantly, that is totally sustainable.
As you can see from my rough draft sketch above, my radial themed garden design comprises of a mix of circles, spherical planting and garden features made from 100% recycled products. Here’s what I’ve achieved to date.
Grass Mound – Reclaimed wood retaining wall
Drumlins, grassy knolls and Tellytubby hills, I’ve always loved these little green mounds of lush grass and since creating a small version in my previous garden, I knew I had to have another one here. So to create my own little rotund patch of greenness, the first thing I need to do was mark out my circular garden, then dig! Excavating a new path and part driveway supplied all of the earth I needed to create the mound. Next, to ensure it didn’t collapse, I needed to shore it up with a retaining wall, hence, my first recycling opportunity – to reuse the ceiling joist off-cuts from my house build.
Treated with a durable exterior woodstain, trench dug, wood placed, levelled and fixed in place with concrete, these off cuts formed an impressive retaining wall for my grassy mound.
My first solo DIY garden build project and not a bad job either, even if I do say so myself. As you can see from the picture above, the wall creates a clean line around the mound and although it’s not fully grassed as yet, just has tufts from previous growth, when it’s fully matured, I think it’ll look fabulous.
Garden path edging – Reclaimed brick border edging
Redesigning my front garden meant my old linear footpath had to go to make way for a more organic shaped pathway to my home. So now, sweeping around the grass mound and leading to my front door, my new pathway needed edging to form a frame around it, as well as for ease of maintenance and to separate it from the raised planting area on itâs opposite side.
Usher in recycling project number two building a reclaimed brick garden border edging.
Again, another new DIY experience for me, the aforementioned retaining wall being my first, building a brick border turned out to be a lot simpler than I thought.
Here’s how I did it, step by step.
1. Salvage sufficient reclaimed bricks to complete your project.
2. Using a bolster and hammer, carefully ‘clean’ off any old mortar.
3. Excavate trench sufficiently deep enough for brick to stand in and retain ground above, fill with mix of 3 parts course sand/1 part cement.
4. Place brick in line with neighbouring brick, leaving a small gap.
5. Gently tap brick into mortar, ensuring brick remains vertical.
6. Check vertical and horizontal levels of brick to ensure a straight finish is achieved.
Garden path edging / retaining wall number 2 – Recycled mix plastic palisades
As my neighbour’s ground level is higher than mine and because we have created a new pathway down the side of our house extension, the walkway needed a robust edging which would also retain the change in level of earth.
Fortunately, the fabulous guys at Kedel came to my rescue with 170 of their recycled mixed plastic ogee interlocking palisades. Made from 100% recycled plastic sourced across the UK, their palisades are incredibly durable and completely maintenance-free! Outlasting their wood equivalents by 5 times longer, Kedel’s recycled mixed plastic palisades are insect resistant, will not fade overtime and will never rot.
Being a DIY novice I was initially concerned they may be a little tricky to install, but this was NOT the case. Lightweight, easy to handle and even easier to install, I created my 8.5m long retaining wall in one day and am very pleased with the results.
To show you just how easy they are to install and how great they look, hereâs a short video showing how I built my recycled mixed plastic palisade garden retaining wall.
That’s all I’ve got to show your for now in my DIY recycled garden, but as you can see, although I’m only a little way into the build of my sustainable garden good progress is quickly being made. Plus, it’s already proving to be very achievable in terms of availability of recycled materials, cost and DIY-skills required.
Next up will by my upcycled wine bottle stepping stones…
Don’t forget, if you’ve got any other ideas that you think would work well in my garden or if you manufacture eco garden products that youâd like me to review as part of my sustainable garden project, please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.