Our island is in need of a lot more green. The Ministry of Agriculture is encouraging tree planting, as are charity organisations and others. A lot of this is done for publicity, but it serves the purpose.

People are becoming more aware of green development and this can be seen both in private houses, as well as development projects of a comprehensive nature.

Planting trees, in addition to improving the environment, increases a property’s value and leads to a quicker sale as it becomes more attractive.

When it comes to planting there are some things to think about.

Examine the local existing vegetation and try to stick to this to the extent possible, since this vegetation is suitable for the local soil and weather conditions.

Going with olive, carob and cypress trees is a good starting point. These trees, of a height of approximately three metres, can be bought from nurseries at a cost of around €120-€150/each. They require limited maintenance and little water and do not lose many leaves, so there is no need to constantly sweep up.

Fruit trees are also popular, such as lemon, orange, fig and so on, providing owners with the joy of watching their fruit grow and, in the end, harvesting them for their own consumption or to give to friends. They do require more attention and you must keep an eye on their branches, which may grow and block your installations, such as solar panels, or swimming pool, or intrude on the yard of your neighbours, who have the right to cut these branches.

My favourite is the local pine tree, which grow at a reasonable speed, and you can also buy them at a height of three metres for around €120/each. Care is required for their falling needles, which require constant clearing as if left to break down on the ground the acid in them stops other things growing. They also require spraying once a year.

Palm trees are also attractive for large yards.

For those in coastal areas, where there is increased humidity, there are more options including avocado, exotic fruit trees, such as papaya, and royal poinciana, also called the flamboyant tree.

Eucalyptus trees should be avoided at all costs as they have moisture seeking roots and tend to end up in your drainage system.

In the flower category, opt for bougainvillea and the climbing rose tree and limit the amount of flowers and grass as they need watering all the time requirement and require maintenance.

Those wishing to keep themselves busy with their garden can choose one or two areas to plant vegetables, such as lettuce, radish, parsley, onions and corn, as well as the various varieties of pepper plants. Tomatoes and cucumbers are another option but require care during cold weather.

When making decisions on what to plant where, bear in mind that they grow and consider obstructions, as well as blocking of sunlight.

It is worth checking the subsoil and whether there is rock underground which would affect tree growth.

Subject to one’s circumstances, the soil quality and water availability, a home in Cyprus can be turned into green paradise.

Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Appraisers & Development Project Managers, www.aloizou.com.cy, [email protected]