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Create a Garden That Contributes to the Ecosystem

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One of the best things about having a garden is being able to interact with nature. A garden allows us to view the season as they flow into one another. It allows us to be part of the living and breathing ecosystem; the system of all living things that exist within a given area. Ecosystems include not only the living things in a given space but also the weather, the earth, the sun, the soil, the climate and even the atmosphere. In an ecosystem each separate organism has an important part to play and the death of one part of the ecosystem allows for the start of another. Everything is recycled and nothing is wasted. What better way to help nature than to create your very own ecosystem in your backyard? This can be much easier than you think. homify has the best ideas on how to create an ecosystem in your backyard.

Use Local Plants

Plants are an essential part of any ecosystem, they provide a home for the animals and insects as well as stability for the soil. In any environment there are plants that are good to include and others that are better. When choosing plants for your backyard ecosystem there a few considerations to make. One of the most important considerations is the local climate and environment. It is sometimes tempting to choose plants based purely on their looks, colours or size, although this may not be the best choice. It is better to choose plants that are suited to the local area and local climate. Local plants are already acclimatized to the local soils and the extremes in climate conditions. Consult your local garden store for the best local plants. This garden was designed by Monica Khanna Designs

Include a Pond to Catch and Keep Rainwater for Animals

 Garden by Floors of Stone Ltd
Floors of Stone Ltd

Cotes Mill—Mill Pond

Floors of Stone Ltd

A backyard pond is a great way to attract wildlife to your ecosystem. Although this is not as simple as simply filling a small pool with water. A pond ecosystem consists of many different levels, the water simply forms the foundation. The other levels include; bacteria, including algae, plankton, larval insects, amphibians, fish and birds and reptiles. Each level plays an important part in the life of the pond ecosystem. It may be as simple as the lower levels providing a food source for the level above them. There are also much more complex chemical processes at work in a pond that are essential for the lifecycle of the ecosystem. If you are looking to attract animals of all types to your backyard, a pond will produce results very quickly.

Plant Hedges to Protect from Animals

 Garden  by Border Sundials Ltd
Border Sundials Ltd

Verdigris armillary behind an evergreen hedge

Border Sundials Ltd

Once you have constructed a pond, it will not be long before the lifecycle within the pond environment will start. To start the process top up your pond with a bucket of pond water from a nearby wild pond. This will contain all the lower level bacteria that your pond will need to start. This will then attract each higher level organism; from bacteria to algae to plankton to larvae to insects, amphibians, fish and reptiles. As your pond ages it will become rich with these organisms. It may then start to attract larger animals such as mammals and birds. This may not be the sort of animal you want to attract. To protect your pond from the larger animals, construct a plant hedge around the pond, with a gate for entry. This will provide protection for your ecosystem.

Use Compost

Compost is one of the best things for a healthy garden. It is essentially a heap of wetted organic matter. This can be leaves, grass clippings and food waste. Compost is one of the key elements of an ecosystem as it represents the whole concept of an ecosystem; everything that dies allows for something else to live. The dead leaves and food are recycled and used as nutrients for new plants and food for smaller organisms. Compost is easy to create, simply collect the organic matter together and place into a container such as a bottomless wooden crate, with a lid. Fill the container with alternate layers of wet and dry organic materials. Microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, worms and insects will work their way through the pile and decompose the material. The end result will be healthy compost. This is a wonderful product to add to the garden. This garden was designed by Les Arplanteurs. 

Allow Insects

 Garden by FLORERA , design and realisation gardens and other outdoor spaces.
FLORERA , design and realisation gardens and other outdoor spaces.

Nature rich garden good for bees and other insects/ Natuurrijke landschapstuin met bloemrijke beplanting goed voor bijen ea. insecten.

FLORERA , design and realisation gardens and other outdoor spaces.

Insects are commonly considered pests, and something that should be eliminated from yards. Although when you have an ecosystem in your backyard, insects play a very important role. In an ecosystem every organism plays its own part in maintaining that ecosystem. Insects play an important part as both pollinators and as a food source for larger organisms. Other insects can also be very useful, eating the aggressive plant eating insects. Although a garden should be viewed not as a sterile environment to be kept clean, but as a system where organisms of all level live and interact together.

Do Not Disturb Animals by Night

 Garden by Floors of Stone Ltd
Floors of Stone Ltd

Cotes Mill—Gunieafowl

Floors of Stone Ltd

As in many parts of the world a backyard ecosystem will contain many nocturnal animals and insects. These animals and insects will be dormant and hide during the day and only at night will they come out. They depend on the day and night cycle on the earth for their life sustaining behaviours such as reproduction, feeding, sleep and protection. Evidence suggests that these behaviours can be disturbed significantly with artificial lighting. For this reason it is beneficial for your ecosystem to avoid artificial lighting such as security lighting and flood lights during the night hours. Consider also avoiding any unnecessary noise such as loud music. These will also affect the nocturnal organisms in your ecosystem.

A garden is a wonderful way to be able to view nature close up. Another way to truly take part in the lifecycle of nature is to create your own ecosystem. This can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Start by sourcing and growing  local plants. This will be the basis of your ecosystem. If you are feeling ambitious create your own backyard pond. This will attract an entire ecosystem of its own with all levels of organisms being drawn to the life giving waters. Next, protect your pond from animals by planting high hedges. If you are starting out small on your ecosystem, consider constructing a compost heap and allowing the many insects to thrive in your garden. These insect play an important part in keeping the ecosystem healthy.  These are just a few important tips in starting a backyard ecosystem. For more tips see 7Ways to Make My Garden More Interesting.

Which idea did you like the most? Let us know in the comments below.
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