Sustainable gardens are all the rage right now – and we want in. These gardens feature rainwater harvesting, productive food gardens and so much more. Here’s what you need to know.
At the 2019 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, one of the biggest call outs was sustainable gardens. Multiple landscape designers, urban farming companies and gardening experts showcased their spaces, gardens and innovations – from simple hot climate planting ideas perfect for sustainable living Down Under to pop-up veggie farms.
What really caught our attention was the debut exhibition of the aptly titled ‘House and Garden of the Future’, a breakthrough collaborative display by an award-winning group of Australian companies, featuring a pop-up urban farm and a prefab modular studio home.
The sustainable garden itself can feed a small family of four – or three adults – for an entire year. That’s 365 days of fresh produce, straight from your garden. Wow, right? You do the maths, but it’s a no brainer that a garden like this can help you slash your food and energy bills in a heartbeat.
“This sustainable garden creates half a ton of fresh produce each year,” confirms Brendan Condon, director of Biofilta, The Cape and The Sustainable Landscape Company. Features include herbs and flowering plants to attract pollinators, plus self-watering garden beds that store water “so if you go away for the long weekend, you won’t lose your plants,” tells Brendan.
The innovative garden also features balcony planters “which the average city dweller can also use to grow food in a small space within arms’ reach”. It’s a perfect solution for all the small space inner city gardeners among us, who would love to grow their own produce on their balcony, but struggle with how to do so.
“Many Australian households are experiencing rising energy and food bills in an increasingly hotter climate,” says Brendan. The ‘house and garden of the future’ features “passive solar design, solar energy, urban cooling, biodiversity and productive food gardens” to help combat this.
The prefab modular studio home, featured in the video above and below, runs on solar energy with battery storage to eliminate energy bills. “The home has a 7.2-star energy rating, double glazing, insulation, water tanks, and solar power units,” explains Ash Beaumont, director of Ecoliv Sustainable Buildings. “Ecoliv homes are passive solar, site responsive and made from lightweight construction materials with low embodied energy.”
Ecoliv can design anything from one-bedroom studio homes up to four-bedroom family homes, and they’ll customise the modular digs to suit the buyer’s taste and preferences. “As long as we can get it on the back of a truck, we can do anything,” says Ash.
So, if you want all in for everything – i.e., the sustainable house and sustainable garden of the future – it will set you back… wait for it… $150,000. “The landscape, urban farm, and the beautiful sustainable studio home costs about $150,000,” says Brendan.
Well, then, that’s a little more affordable than a $1.1m mortgage, right? Time to get future-ready.
Originally published as Sustainable garden can feed a family for a year