Top tips for creating a wildlife friendly garden
8th Aug, 2017
No matter where you live or how big your garden, attracting wildlife to your garden is easy with our top tips. Inviting wildlife in and encouraging new species to explore your space can be a rewarding and entertaining past time that the whole family can enjoy all year-round.
Learn how to create a wildlife garden and build a fantastic space where you can enjoy all the beauty of nature.
Add a Wildlife Pond
Creating a pond in your garden is one of the best things you can do to encourage wildlife. It provides drinking water for birds and a habitat for small creatures such as frogs and dragonfly’s. Small ponds can be surprisingly quick and easy to build and larger ponds can support huge amounts of wildlife (But don’t forget if you have children, always think safety first).
See here for a quick, handy guide to creating a mini pond or a range of water features from the RSPB.
- Aim for a natural curved shape, at least 90cm deep in the centre (so it won’t freeze) and at least 30cm around the edge.
- Think about where to place your pond, too much sun will encourage algae but not enough and your plants won’t grow so location is key.
- Try to avoid steep sides or consider putting in a small ramp to give those smaller animals a helping hand for easy access.
- Lastly, if you have time natural rainwater is a much better source than tap water which might encourage algae.
- For more advice, local nurseries are a fantastic source of advice on what plants to choose for your area.
Plants for Bees
It’s no secret that Britain’s bumble bees are in serious decline – so encouraging bees to your garden has never been more important. By using brightly coloured flowers and blooms you’ll not only attract bees to your garden, but in turn, other birds and insects.
- Avoid un-common “hybridized plants”. Instead choose traditional single flowers lavender, honey-suckles and dahlias.
- Like purple? So do Bees. Bees see the colour purple more clearly than any other so try investing in some Verbena or for a climbing plant Clematis is a beautiful choice.
- Plant flowers that bloom all year round (e.g. bluebells, crab apples, and daffodils for spring; comfrey, foxgloves, and snapdragons for early summer; and angelica, single flowered dahlia, and heather for late summer.)
Get your Wildlife Garden Design right
The design of your garden can be just as important as your plants for attracting wildlife. Having disconnected areas in your garden can hinder diversity, so create small wildlife corridors to connect different areas. You can allow access from one area of your garden to another by planting corridors of plants between them to allow for insects, frogs, and newts to travel much more easily.
Create a miniature glade by planting woodland flowers under shaded areas or trees and build shelters with logs and stick-piles under bushes and around garden edges to provide refuges for small creatures. Areas of long grass can be great for harbouring wood mice, voles, shrews, and butterfly caterpillars, and small piles of rocks, or a dedicated rockery, can create more diverse areas of shelter.
Avoid straight edges to create a range of temperatures and varying areas of shade, this will give cover from wind and enhance the diversity of your garden. It is also a great way of encouraging butterflies as they can migrate around your garden throughout the day.
Wildlife Garden Maintenance
Don’t feel that you need to let your garden run wild to welcome wildlife. You should definitely keep the centre of your lawn short as this lets larger animals and birds forage for grubs, though it’s good to leave the edges long to create cover for insects.
Also, wait until winter to cut back your hedges so that you don’t risk disturbing nesting birds.
Compost is fantastic for all gardens as it speeds up the natural recycling and makes for healthy soil. It is excellent for encouraging insects and grubs which can form the basis of your garden ecosystem.
Our Final Tips
If you focus on making your garden friendly to smaller insects first it will encourage animals and birds to follow – so take your transformation one step at a time.
Balance your wildlife desires with what is practical: if you need a lawn for your children then have one, but include clover and self-heal to help attract bees and hedgehogs.
Find out what wildlife is in your area and plan your garden around attracting those animals.
Wildlife doesn’t respect garden boundaries so you should see your garden as part of a wider ecosystem. Don’t have a garden? See our collection on Pintrest on creating an outdoor balcony space or for more check out our handy board with more “Wildlife Garden Tips”.