Gardening and DIY [Better Homes and Buildings]

Gardening at home has numerous benefits. Engaging in nature is proven to help your health and wellbeing by reducing stress and anxiety whilst encouraging physical exercise. You can also garden for food, which saves carbon from the transport, packaging and land use associated with remotely sourced foodstuffs, resulting in a saving of 2½kg CO2e for every kilogram of food produced!

Whatever the size of your plot – be it a window sill, garden or allotment, we provide some top tips to help you.

  • Tip 1: Consider converting your patio into a garden
  • Tip 2: Put up some feeders for birds to bring life around your house.
  • Tip 3: Create a body of water to feed wildlife – this could be a tray or a pond!
  • Tip 4: Plant flowers that feed pollinators - grow these inside and outside your house.
  • Tip 5: Have some house plants – they stimulate wellbeing – Cactus such as Aloe Vera can also be used to soothe the skin.
  • Tip 6: Grow something for food – even indoor herbs or tomatoes on your balcony – it inspires people to see food being grown.
  • Tip 7: Make a hole in your garden fence to let wildlife move freely!

Gardening for Food

The general rule of thumb for gardening for food is to start small, have some wins and then extend your horizons. Some great starter plants are potatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, strawberries, mint and tomatoes.

If you get planting seeds between February and May, then you can produce vegetables grown from seed. If not, you can pick up some seedlings from your local garden centre. If you’re just getting started, then this can be the way forward as you slowly build your collection of pots from these bought plants.

All you really need is a large tub to grow things like tomatoes and potatoes in, or you can get grow bags and grow directly out of those. A small pot will do for your mint and strawberries, and you’ll need something quite a bit bigger for your courgettes. Now all you need to do is make sure you water regularly and watch your plants grow.

There’s tonnes of information about growing on the Royal Horticulture Society Website and you’ll also get some great tips from Better Century members. Ask your questions and we will help!

Wildlife Gardening

56% of species in the UK are in decline, and we are one of the most biodiversity depleted countries in the world. The biggest driving force for this is agriculture, but development and housing have also had roles to play. Our gardens contain an opportunity to help nature recover, helping create an inspiring place for you and your family.

The key components of bringing wildlife back to your garden are:

  • Create a pond or provide a place for wildlife to drink.
  • Make space for nature by creating bug hotels, a hedge, putting up bird boxes, or by allowing a space to grow wild during the main summer months.
  • Feed wildlife by putting up bird feeders, especially during winter months.
  • Bring bees and butterflies to your garden by growing flowers and creating wildflower meadows.
  • Allow wildlife to move freely through your garden space by making a hole in your garden fence.

A lot more information about how to create space for wildlife in your garden is available through our community or other recommended organisations.


There are some less impactful solutions to improving the home, which mostly involve buying from sustainable goods suppliers. Simple tips include to buy FSC certified wood products and to try to buy products which are created from recycled materials.