Take it outside: how to create a sustainable office garden

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Take it outside: how to create a sustainable office garden

Having a garden on the grounds of your office is always a good idea. If you are able to create a green space, you will soon see that your staff’s morale will improve, because they have a space to go and relax when they need to. However, it can be tricky to ensure that your office garden is sustainable because you might not have control over the water access and other aspects.

You can speak to your municipality about available water sources created by desalination in South Africa to use to water the garden. Using the water from desalination plants is more environmentally friendly than using the water mains from your office block.

Interested in going green in your office garden? Below are some top tips for sustainability.


Grow for your region

This is one of the most important steps to take when creating a sustainable office garden. Growing plants to suit your region will ensure that you do not overwater the plants. For example, if you live in a drier region, you could create a stunning succulent garden that is water-wise and unique.

If you live in a region that is more tropical, you could look into planting flowers and shrubs that thrive in that sort of climate. Growing plants suited to your region will not only save you water but it will prevent alien plant species from taking over. If you plant a tree that grows naturally in your area, there is less chance that a jacaranda tree will be planted. These trees are notorious for using a large amount of water, which could create a water crisis for indigenous species.


Look at the location

An important aspect to consider when starting an office garden is to look at where it will be situated on the office grounds. If you place your flowers or shrubs in an area that receives a certain amount of shade, this will mean that you do not have to water as often.

Choose an area on the grounds that gets an equal amount of sun and shade, and has soil that is easy to plant in. An effective way to choose a location is to perform a soil pH test to see how alkaline or acidic the soil is. This way you will be able to choose a garden plot that has the right type of soil for the plants you want to grow. If there is no shade in the area, you might need to install a shade-cloth or a gazebo over the plot so that there is some shade.


Avoid using chemicals

Using chemicals in your office garden is a major no-no if you want to maintain any sustainability. If you are using water created by desalination in Cape Town, you would do well to avoid fertilisers and herbicides with harmful chemicals and rather opt for natural remedies.

You could look into products that are made from organic materials or you could make your own using coffee grounds, eggshells and banana peels. All of these are common kitchen waste from office kitchens. You will need to be sure that the food offcuts that you use are not rotting or mouldy before you add them to the compost heap, as this could cause adverse effects on the fertiliser. It is also cost-effective, as you will not have to buy expensive fertilisers. Another idea is to use insects such as ladybirds to keep away pests, but speak to a professional about this option for your office.


Use a rain catchment tank

Having a tank on the grounds of your office to catch rainwater in is one of the best ways to run a sustainable office. And this water can be used to water your garden without you having to run any taps in your building or use the municipal water supply system. The is not potable water but it is perfect for watering flowers.

By using rainwater, you will be saving a significant amount on your water bills and you will not be wasting drinking water. Be sure that you use a sieve in the top of the tank to keep out any leaves and debris that might fall in. Placing the tank on a raised concrete surface will make it easier for your gardeners to reach the tap to let the water out. It will also l ensure that no mould, soil or moisture reaches the inside of the tank. Be sure that any water treatment you use, such as water filter tablets, are also eco-friendly.


Green spaces improve office life

Having an office garden does not only improve the way your building looks, but it also contributes to saving the environment. Your staff will enjoy being able to go out into a green space when they need some time away from the computer screen.

To ensure it is sustainable, you should start by choosing plants that suit your climate, then move on to choosing a plot that suits the needs of the plant. Avoid using chemicals and recycle rainwater to make for the perfect sustainable, stunning office garden.

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