How to boost biodiversity: an actionable checklist for exterior walls, gardens, and balconies 

Combatting biodiversity loss seems daunting. Until today! Hurray! You only need one square meter of outside space or one exterior wall to contribute to biodiversity. This actionable guide helps you do it.  

We first provide you with the checklist and further below, we’ll give a short explanation for each action. 

If you’ve participated in hello energy’s biodiversity challenge in May 2023, some actions might look familiar.  

Cover your exterior walls in creepers: Creepers, such as ivy and wisteria, are not only beautiful and good for biodiversity, they also lower your energy bill. They insulate your house quite well, so they are a low-cost and low-effort investment in the energy efficiency of your house.  

Flowering creepers help bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Think of passionflower (so pretty), honeysuckle, jasmine, and clematis. Preferably choose a plant that’s native in your area.  

Choose for a green roof: A green roof is also good for biodiversity and your energy bill. It’ll pay itself back. Ask – for example – Rooftop Revolution for advice.  

Tiles out, artificial grass out: Tiles and artificial grass are not the best choice for biodiversity. They host zero life. And tiles block rainwater from entering the ground. That adds to droughts, but also doesn’t benefit life in the soil. 

Plant lowers, plants, and shrubs that invite pollinators (such as bees, bumblebees and butterflies): How nice is it to see bees, bumblebees and butterflies peacefully come by. With seeds from The Pollinators you’re on the right track. Buy some extra sachets to give away to friends and family.  

Choose flowers that bloom at different times of the year. It’s pretty and it helps pollinators. 

Choose native vegetation: Also, choose for native rather than exotic vegetation. Exotic plants can become invasive. Also, native plants are tailored to the environment, so they need less water, fertilizer and are less prone to pests.  

Start your own veggie garden: If you’re a beginner, read this beginner’s guide. It’s easier than you think, especially if you start with easy crops such as carrots, chard, spinach, and zucchinis. If you’re not a beginner, do your thing.  

Having a veggie garden is good for the planet, but also good for your body and mind. 

You don’t need a garden to start growing your own veggies. A planter on a small balcony works too. Trust us. The writer of this article grew carrots, Swiss chard, strawberries, and raspberries on a 2m2 balcony.  

Start your own herb garden: Finally put an end to those supermarket herbs-in-pots that die after seventeen minutes and help biodiversity. Start your own herb garden! Everyone can do this.  

Add hanging planters with flowers and plants that attract pollinators: If you have a balcony or a fence around your garden, choose for hanging planters. Choose plants that flower at different times of the year, so you always have some nectar in stock to serve your guests.  

Create a vertical garden: If you have limited space (or if you have lots of it), you can use your walls for plants too. The internet – especially Pinterest – provides great inspiration. Stack crates, plant creepers, hang pots to your wall, get creative!  

Provide shelter for birds: Attract birds by feeding them, but also by providing shelter: trees, shrubs, and birdhouses. If you only have a balcony: a birdhouse works wonders.  

Throw out your chemical pesticides: Chemical pesticides kill insects. Not only the plague you’re dealing with. Also other insects, among which the pollinators we so desperately need. Choose organic and sustainable gardening practices.  

Place a rain barrel: Rain barrels prevent quick runoff of rainwater and they help conserve water: you can use collected water for your garden.   

Add water habitats: If you have the space, consider a pond or a stream to make an attractive place for birds, dragonflies and frogs. But take care: those last ones are quite loud. 

Cool, that should keep you busy for a while. We’d love to hear about the changes you made to your living environment in the online building community. Perhaps it will inspire others to do the same! 🐝

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