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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 January, 2005, 10:50 GMT
Design an eco-friendly garden
In our Planet Under Pressure series, we're looking at some of the world's biggest environmental problems.

How to enter:
1. Download the .pdf template
2. Design your garden either by hand or on a computer
3. Send your design as an email attachment to ecogarden@bbc.co.uk
or post to
Gardening Competition, Room 7095, BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, London W12 7RJ
Please read our competition rules before entering

But the first steps toward solving these issues can begin at home - which is why we're giving you a chance to design an eco-friendly garden.

We want you to come up with a garden which is a relaxing green space for you, your family and friends, uses natural resources in a sustainable way and encourages a wide range of plant and wildlife.

We want to see entries which combine originality, resourcefulness and beauty.

You can design a garden for where you live, or choose a setting or location anywhere in the world.

Your design should aim to make use of environmentally friendly or recycled materials and you should think about the amount of time you'll need to devote to looking after it.

The closing date is Friday 21 January 2005.

One entry will be chosen as the winner by expert judges from the BBC Gardening website, and will receive a copy of The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, by the Henry Doubleday Research Foundation.

We'll display the winner and a selection of the best entries on the BBC News website.

We've included some helpful links from gardening websites on the right hand side of this page, and some links to useful resources from BBC Gardening within the text below.

We'll be judging the entries on five key criteria:

1. CLIMATE AND WATER: Wet or dry

If your design is for a region with high amounts of rainfall you'll need to include plants which thrive in wet conditions and make sure your garden has proper drainage.

Similarly if you're planning for a dry region, your garden design should conserve water and use plants which can cope with minimal rainfall or drought.

Even if you're designing for a region with plenty of water, you'll still need to consider where the water for your garden comes from. Bear in mind the energy and chemicals used in bringing you your tap water and think about how you can make the most of rainwater.

Resources:

2. SPECIES DIVERSITY: Plant and wildlife

Your design should aim to stimulate biodiversity - a wide range of plants and animals.

By planning to use the right types of plants, and not using pesticides, you can encourage both wildlife and plants to thrive in your garden.

This doesn't mean letting nature take over, however, and you can find out more about how to design a garden which blends style with nature at the BBC Gardening website resources below:

Resources:

3. MATERIALS: What not to use

Your design should only use environmentally friendly materials which do not deplete endangered resources, or come from ecologically sensitive parts of the world.

You should also make the most of your garden's natural resources - think about how can you reduce or cut down fertiliser use by recycling nutrients, for example.

Another thing to consider is whether you can make use of old or recycled materials in your design. Extra marks for originality in this category!

Resources:

4. AESTHETICS: A beautiful space

We don't want your garden to be just about saving the planet - we want it to look nice as well!

The winning design will be the garden which we think which best mixes these eco-friendly criteria with an aesthetically pleasing design.

You can find out more about what to consider from a design perspective when planning a garden at the BBC Gardening website:

Resources:

5. PRACTICALITY: Time and money

There's no set budget, but it's important to consider maintenance and cost when planning your garden.

You may want to think about using low-maintenance plants requiring minimal care and attention. And you should try to plan a garden in which you can relax as well as looking after.

Judges will be looking at whether your garden will be good value for money.

Resources:


Please read our competition rules before entering. Good luck !




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