There are a number of other passive techniques and alternative technologies that can be easily integrated into a garden design, maximising environmental sustainability and saving time and money.
The addition of a productive plant into the landscape is practical and can be an aesthetically pleasing feature. With the rising cost of living and increased reliance on chemicals in food production, the ability to pick your own fruit, herbs or vegetable is appealing and becoming necessary.
Where a hedge or screen is required, why not plant a kiwi or passionfruit vine and reap the rewards? Many plants, such as Bursaria spinosa can create living fences by forming a dense hedge that also creates habitat for fauna.
Aquaponics is the integration of aquaculture and hydroponics. It is an organic growing system where fish and plants are produced in an integrated recirculating system that uses no pesticides and can have no environment pollution. These organisms interact with each other in ways that are beneficial for each. It enables you to grow maximum amounts of fish, vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers for minimum amounts of water and resources.
It is the most water efficient growing system in the world and can be used in home gardens, schools or commercially. Fish and produce are contained in separate ‘vessels or tanks’ whose shape and size is only limited by your imagination. These tanks create an interesting garden feature.
More than just a form of organic gardening, Permaculture is concerned with the design and redesign of natural management systems and the relationship between elements in a landscape in an effort to take households and communities towards a sustainable future.
Consciously designed landscapes that mimic patterns and relationships found in nature can yield an abundance of food, fibre and energy for the provision of local needs. Permaculture principles can be used in whole farm planning or back yard garden design incorporating simple measures such as having a potted herb garden close to the kitchen.
BIOTECTURE + BIO WALLS
Biotecture is an abbreviation of “Biological Architecture” and is in its infancy. However, the concept of bio walls, green walls, roofs and edible walls is fast moving into the commercial realm as architects, landscape architects and designers, developers and town planners seek to find more sustainable methods of creating buildings with lower or zero carbon footprints.
Benefits of green walling and roofing include reduced thermal loading on buildings, water and air filtration, reduced heat island effect (reflected temperatures), sound and storm water attenuation, creation of urban ecological habitat, plus exciting and uplifting human urban environments. Edible walls, or vertical salad bars are an exciting option for small spaces or simply as a garden or building feature.
A healthy, stable building that can self regulate internal conditions such as temperature and air quality, and potentially deal with grey water and storm water waste, will have a positive psychological effect on its inhabitants. Biomass is sorely lacking in most urban environments and the presence of living plants invokes a positive reaction from almost everyone. As societies become more urbanised, fauna and ecology benefit from the use of living walls and roofs, increasing the life and diversity in our communities.