We have unfortunately evolved away from planting indigenous organic gardens. Instead plants are imported from
other countries or climates, pesticides and fertilisers are used to keep hotel gardens looking good, and energy sapping maintenance is required from both man and machine on an on-going basis. In addition and all too often, potable (drinkable tap water) is used on a daily basis to irrigate.
The irony is that the eco-friendly garden is virtually maintenance free requires less water and can be productive if fruit and vegetables are included in the design (which can be used in the hotel kitchen). Moreover, your eco-friendly garden can serve as an excellent marketing tool to be included in your overall Hospitality package. Guests can be encouraged to spend time relaxing in a natural garden setting during their stay
What you need to know:
- Assess site conditions and design your surrounding garden according what exists – type of soil, amount of rainfall plus prevailing temperature and wind patterns. Do not alter or import land or rocks.
- Grow native plants that support the indigenous wildlife.
- Try not to include expansive lawns and where possible do not include grass lawns at all. They are thirsty and require high maintenance.
- In areas where low rainfall or water restrictions exist, plant indigenous, drought tolerant species
- Use the correct plants to provide screens, filter light and provide shade indoors and outdoors
- Avoid using chemical pesticides – encourage the local wildlife to control the pests in your hotel garden. Find out what native plants attract wildlife that will protect your garden from pests
- Use rain water (link to rain water tanks) and grey water recycling (link) to irrigate your garden
- Use recycled products or salvaged materials as features in your garden
- Do your own composting by recycling some of your household and garden waste. Practically anything that has lived at some stage can go into compost. This includes lawn clippings, garden weeds and kitchen scraps
- Make your hotel garden productive by planting fruit trees, herbs and a vegetable garden. Give it a try, your hard work will be rewarded by better tasting, organic produce that costs you very little and can be served to your guests
- If there is no space for a garden around the building perimeter, consider laying a garden on the roof with visitor access. This area can also be used to plant fresh produce for your kitchen
- Where possible create natural ponds and pools. They attract wildlife and if a proper natural filtration system is deployed, the water can be recycled for watering your garden. If designed with prevailing wind conditions in mind, ponds and pools can have a natural cooling effect on your hotel and warm garden areas
- Link the hotel interior staying experience with your outdoor garden experience. Your guests will be happier people if exposed to nature from all visual angles