11 Sustainable Gardening Ideas for the Home

11 Sustainable Gardening Ideas for the Home

One of the simplest things you can do for the environment these days is to implement sustainable gardening practices in your own backyard. Here are 11 tips covering everything from collecting rainwater to the best time to lay turf, that will help you get on track for environmental sustainability. 

What is sustainable gardening and why should you do it?

Sustainable gardening has no official definition, but it refers to the concept of implementing gardening practices that minimise harm to the earth while continuing to improve the environment for all its inhabitants. 

Most people probably associate sustainable gardening with organic byproducts, but it goes much further. Not only does sustainable gardening involve using minimal pesticides, but it incorporates a whole range of practices that support the local ecosystem to leave it better than you found it. As such, it involves long-term commitment and is a lifestyle in itself. 

So, why practice sustainable gardening? Sustainable gardening is a great way to look after the earth not just for your benefit, but also for all those that are to come after you. It aims to protect the environment long-term, meaning there are greater benefits than just having a nice garden. 

In addition, it’s also low-maintenance and low-cost due to the fact it aims to mimic the earth’s natural processes. 

Here are some of our favourite sustainable gardening tips that you can implement in your backyard. 

Sustainable gardening design

Sustainable Gardening Tip #1: Design

Sustainable gardening starts with a good design. If your plan is to plant new trees, plants and grass in your garden, take some time to learn about your area, the climate and the native flora and fauna so you know what will thrive best in your garden. Also, look at your backyard and consider how much sun it gets, how moist the soil is and how much space you have. This will help you determine which plants to place within the yard to maximise their chance of survival. This also means you’ll spend less time, money and products trying to keep plants alive in places where they just don’t want to grow.

Sustainable Gardening Tip #2: Harnessing Water

Rainwater is one of our most precious resources; therefore, we should do as much as possible to conserve it. Any house with an outdoor space can harvest rainwater. The simplest way to do this is to set up a water system that fills barrels with the water runoff. This can then be used to water your garden.  Another technique is to recycle your household’s greywater. 90% of the water we use in our household leaves the home as wasted water! 

Sustainable Gardening - Harnessing Water

Sustainable Gardening Tip #3: Natural Pest & Weed Control

It seems in winter that nothing you do with your garden can detract pests and insects. But you can limit the damage and make life easier for yourself by finding out which plants are less susceptible to insect damage. You can also ditch the chemical treatments by using organic pesticides. 

You can also introduce beneficial insects to your garden such as ladybugs, who love eating pests such as aphids. Be sure to choose insects that are suitable for your problem and your geographical area. You don’t want to accidentally introduce an insect that will cause more harm than good!  

When it comes to controlling weeds, say goodbye to chemical pesticides and consider natural alternatives. Consider getting on your hands and knees and pulling out the weeds manually if you can. This is what sustainable gardening looks like. It focuses on the long-term benefits as opposed to immediate gains. 

Sustainable Gardening Tip #4: Going Native

Native plants are not only native to Australia but local to your area. Local native plants continue to be an important source of food and shelter for our native fauna, enhance wildlife corridors and help with the preservation of local plants. Native plants require minimal watering and are more suited to Australian conditions, meaning they end up being the more low-maintenance choice. 

Planting native trees is a particularly good way to improve the ecosystem in your yard while helping do your bit to mitigate carbon emissions. The Australian eucalyptus tree is particularly good at this and can be easily germinated and planted from home. Nara Grass is a great choice if you’re looking for a Native Australian turf that’s resistant to many pests, drought and salt. 

Producing mulch

Sustainable Gardening Tip #5: Produce Mulch

Mulching your garden beds helps them to retain moisture and repress weeds. When we think of mulch, most people think of woodchips, but mulching simply means covering the soil with an organic layer. Wherever possible, an ideal solution is to use living mulch, particularly if it’s edible. How is this sustainable gardening, you might ask? This technique will suppress weeds while at the same time retaining moisture and shielding soil from the sun. You will enjoy nicer, healthier garden beds in the long run! 

Sustainable Gardening Tip #6: Composting

Composting is one of those practices that has so many great benefits to the environment. By composting your wasted food, you’ll:

  • help decrease soil erosion
  • enhance your soil structure
  • increase the amount of nutrients your plants are getting
  • improve water retention in the soil
  • suppress plant diseases
  • and a whole lot more!

Composting is also the most sustainable option for managing organic waste.


A common misconception about composting is that you need a big garden or a worm farm to make it happen. While you can certainly compost at home and use the compost in your own garden, there are options out there for people who only have a small space such as a courtyard or live in an apartment. Check with your local council to see what composting facilities they offer. You can also call around to local schools, parks and community groups to see if they can pick up your compost.

Sun shining on lawn

Tip #7: Seasonal Planting

Sometimes, it seems like everything is working against you when you’re gardening. By using Australia’s seasons to your full advantage, you can swing the odds back in your favour and help the environment. For example, if you’re planting a new lawn, you can make the process easy by familiarising yourself with the best time to lay turf

Sustainable Gardening Tip #8: Saving Your Seeds

Save any seeds that your flowers, vegetables and trees produce so that you can replant them in the following spring. This saves you from having to buy packaged seeds or potted plants down the line.

Tip #9: Your Lawn Mower

Lawnmowers produce a large amount of pollution, and many require non-renewable resources to function. Consider swapping out your mower for a manual or electric lawn mower to reduce emissions. An energy-efficient lawn mower will also have the added benefit of reducing the energy consumption of your home. 

Hands planting a seed in soil
Garden fertiliser

Sustainable Gardening Tip #10: Natural Fertilisers

Most people buy their fertiliser in plastic from the shops. Instead, consider unpackaged fertilisers such as manure and seaweed for your garden. If you don’t have access to manure on your own property, see if there are any farmers in the local area who can sell some to you. If you live in an area with access to seaweed, you can simply collect, dry and crush it and use it on your plants.

Tip #11: Repurpose fallen branches and twigs

There are so many creative ways you can use fallen branches and twigs around the home and garden, even if you’re not a pro carpenter. Scrap wood can be used as fencing, plant tags or decoration in the home. Repurposing items is part of the essence of sustainable gardening. This means not everything goes to waste, but it’s used in a new and effective manner.

How Rivers Edge Turf can help

Sourcing a good quality turf supplier will not only help with providing the right type of turf for your needs but also valuable advice on when to plant and how to lay it. As with most living plants, the best time is when the weather is not too hot or too cold, and the lawn will need to be in its active growing season as well.

To find out more useful tips and techniques for gardening sustainably, talk to the experts, Rivers Edge Turf on 02 4579 9009.


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