Using your garden to deal with rising air pollution

Air pollution is a potentially an epidemic in the making. With 40,000 deaths in the UK each year linked to toxic air levels, and the potential for the first death certificate to have ‘toxic air’ cited as the primary cause of death, it is an invisible killer we shouldn’t ignore.

But what can we do about it?

Using your garden to deal with rising air pollution

Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

Obviously, paying attention to our carbon footprint is one way to fight back against the rising toxin levels in the air. Another is to put something in place that will clean the current state of the air.

And luckily, it’s something we can all contribute to — planting greens in our gardens! Yes, there are plenty of plants that can be grown in your back garden to help purify and clean the air. Join ericaceous compost supplier, Compost Direct, as we venture outdoors in search of the best plants to filter and clean the air in your city.


Hedges, such as conifers, are a fantastic filter for pollutants. Conifers are particularly noted for their air-cleaning properties, and the western red cedar hedge would be a perfect garden addition. Hedges are particularly good if you live by a busy street or among tall buildings, as they trap pollutants at exhaust pipe level.

Smaller garden space? Home & Property cites the yew as a brilliant alternative, as it’s evergreen and easy to trim, as well as taking up less space. Also, if you’re low on horizontal space, why not look into growing a green wall? You can build one up indoors or outdoors, and they’re a great way to boost your greenery without taking up too much space.

Growing up the walls

Speaking of growing greener walls, the hedera helix, also known as the English ivy, was way ahead of the gardening trend when it started coiling up the walls of many a home in Britain. Over in the US it’s considered a weed, but with the right care and attention, it can look gorgeous on the side of any house.

What can you do in the garden to reduce exposure to air pollution

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

And it does more than bring a countryside feel to an urban home. Ivy is noted for its ability to cage particulates in the air, as its wide leaves are perfect for covering a large portion of air. Plus, it is exceptionally hardy against urbanisation, so it will be perfectly happy in more built-up airs!

A pop of colour among the green

In your quest for greener air, turn to the variety of colours offered by the wallflower, or Erysimum. According to Goldsmiths, University of London, the self-seeded wall flowers also capture particulates like English ivy does, but in a slightly different manner. Its leaves are covered in short hairs, which catch particulates, stopping them from further dispersing.

Purple anti-pollutant

With a beautiful purple bloom, the aster flower makes a pretty addition to any garden. It’s also a wise choice, as asters deals with soil pollutants as well as air pollutants! It will capture air pollutants with its leaves, while drawing up metals like lead and cadmium from the soil.

It will also react to the presence of ozone by turning yellow.

Beyond flowers

If you’re putting the effort into sprucing up your garden, don’t let that effort go to waste by practising environmentally unhealthy gardening techniques. The Smiling Gardener outlines five ways a gardener can decrease their pollutant contribution while working on their flowers.

Obviously, not using pesticides is a key way, as well as steering away from chemical fertilisers. But the site also suggests avoiding other forms of pollution, such as noise pollution, by using quit equipment.

Will you be turning your garden into an environmental defender? It’s easy to do, looks great, and you will reap the health benefits — what’s not to love?

Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you have enjoyed this post.

You can check out my gardening section here for lots of ideas and tips.

*This is a collaborative post

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4 thoughts on “Using your garden to deal with rising air pollution

  1. Very interesting we are starting to put more plants in our garden so will certainly take this on board , not keen on the ivy up the house though!

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