If you want to increase biodiversity in your garden, see if you can replace some tiles in your garden with perennials. Apart from creating extra growth and flowering, excess rainwater will also drain away faster. It is a very quick process.

Improve biodiversity: flip a tile and plant a perennial

If you want to increase biodiversity in your garden, see if you can replace some tiles in your garden with perennials. Apart from creating extra growth and flowering, excess rainwater will also drain away faster. It is a very quick process.

One variety or a mix

Replace one or a few tiles along your façade or patio with perennials. You could also remove random tiles from a path or patio for a playful effect. Choose one variety or create a fun mix. Whatever makes you happy!

In a sunny spot

  • Sage (Salvia): blue, lilac or purple flowers on square stems.
  • Silphium: cheerful yellow flowers.
  • Devil’s bit (Succisa pratensis): an elegant late bloomer, the flowers look a bit like pincushion flowers (Scabiosa)
  • Wild indigo (Baptisia): taller perennials with stunning blue flowers.
  • Widow flowers (Knautia): richly flowering with dark-pink to burgundy flowers on long stems.
  • Prairie mallow (Sidalcea): summer bloomer with upright white or pink flowers.
  • Yarrow (Achillea): flowers in many colours with umbels.

In the (partial) shade

  • Coral bells (Heuchera): striking leaves, from caramel to crimson.
  • Wild ginger (Asarum): evergreen groundcover.
  • Hosta: the blue-leaved ones will flourish in shade, those with yellow in the leaves can tolerate more sun.
  • Yellow fairy bells (Disporum): graceful pendulous bellflowers.
  • Ferns: many leaf shapes and colours
  • Bugleweed (Ajuga): groundcover with purple-blue flowers that will grow anywhere, including in the sun.

Step-by-step plan

Step 1: Pry the tile or tiles loose with a spade.
Step 2: If there is no garden soil underneath the tile, replace the sand with garden soil, preferably at least 30 centimetres deep.
Step 3: If desired, mix organic material (compost or fertiliser) into the soil.
Step 3: Dig a spacious planting hole with a shovel (about twice the size of the root ball). Loosen the bottom.
Step 4: Carefully remove the plant or plants from the pot. If necessary, you can cut the pot to avoid damaging the plant.
Step 5: Fill the hole with enough soil so that the plant sits slightly deeper than it was in the pot.
Step 6: Put in the plant or plants and top up with the rest of the soil. Lightly press the soil with your hands.
Step 7: Water generously.

Interesting facts

  • Plants that you buy in pots can be planted year-round (if temperatures are above zero).
  • You can make a stacking wall with your leftover tiles. This is a great way to increase biodiversity even more.

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