The Eco-Friendly Gardener

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Last year, we had a lovely gentleman round to quote us for a new fence. Not really a whole new one - we have one of those concrete monstrosities which is painful to remove. As a result covering most of it in a fancy modern wooden style and chopping off the other bits is preferable to removing it entirely. The problem was that as nice as he was, he came back with a price of £5,000. You read that correctly; FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS. For a new fence. For outside. That gets rained on and covered in bird poo.

After we’d recovered from the shock, we very politely declined, and backed away from the idea. Unfortunately, the fence is the backbone of the garden. All other jobs - topping up and enriching the soil, plant removal and new border design amongst others - really rely on the fence being completed first. So, at the start of this year I began looking for ways to get it done a little cheaper.

I started off on Pinterest, as most of us do. I found some inspiration for the styles that I liked the best, and also those that I might possibly be able to do myself. I looked at tutorials and advice on how to build a fence (or more specifically, how to attach a wooden front to an immovable concrete hulk). I got to the point where I was pretty confident with what was achievable and how to do it, and I started searching for materials - and here we get to the most surprising bit! I found that a lot of wood is available for free.

Yes, FREE. I searched sites like Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle and Shpock, and found that several times a week around where we live, people are actively giving away usable timber. If I’m going to get a coherent, sleek look to the finished thing I’m going to have to be selective with it, and match my finds, but still - the whole thing should be very doable. It’s not like I need it all done in one weekend, I’ve plenty of time to make sure it’s right.

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Buoyed by that revelation, I started thinking. If it was theoretically possible to build a new fence with freebies, then why not the rest of the garden? Waste is an issue that really gets to me - as a society I always feel that we’re too ready to throw things away rather than reuse or fix them. So I decided to create a garden from other people’s “waste”; usable things that they don’t want or need any more and that would otherwise end up discarded. I can’t solve climate change or the environmental crisis on my own, but I can at least make my own effort, and maybe even inspire someone else along the way!

To that end I’ll be running a series of posts, talking not only about the fence but our planting, pots, upcycling and ponds (at least, that’s the plan!). To make it even more of a challenge, I prefer a modern style of garden. I love white concrete and sleek design. Getting the look I’m after for free is pretty ambitious! Take the journey with us and see how far I manage to get - we’ll be using the #ecogardenproject on insta to make following us super easy.

Drop us a comment if you’ve got any good ideas for an eco-friendly outdoor space, or you’ve done something like this yourself. We’d love to hear all about it!