- filtration function - ground-water, storm-water and CO2 sink
- oxygen giving benefits
- soil and environmental health - gardens protect top-soil and ground water: help avoid compaction, erosion, contamination
- birds, beetles, bees, ants and bees play an important role in the biosphere
- shade, urban heat island, wind-break benefits
- productive benefits (eggs via chooks, growing vegetables, fruit)
- reduced need for resources from old growth habitats, and reduced waste compared with outdoor structures
- non C02 intensive, provided lawns and hedges are kept small (large hedges require oil powered machinery to maintain).
- horticulture therapy - connectedness to nature, the cycle of life and the seasons
- fitness benefits and Vitamin D!
- cost-effectiveness - outdoor structures come at a high price
These benefits are all potentially lost when extensive outdoor structures are built and substantially replace the garden.
Tips for building Outdoor Spaces sustainably
- Build small rather than big.
- Ask yourself: Is your Outdoor Room going to substantially do away with a garden? See first half of this blog as to why gardens are vital!
- Opt for permeable surfaces over non-permeables.
- Don't build if the product is sourced from existing habitats, eg sourced from coupes illegally logged or active waterways
- Think about the economics, before you act. Are you investing in a fad?
- Chose plants that attract pollinators.
- Protect, nourish (with compost) and conserve the top-soil (sediment control/erosion/soil biota).