Interested in creating a wildlife-friendly garden, but not sure how to start? We have some tips for you!
The benefits of having your own wildlife garden are great.
Not only will it give you the chance to enjoy nature and watch animals interact with one another, but it also gives many species a safe place to live.
Wildlife gardening is a great way to help with biodiversity on your land.
Not only can you attract more wildlife, but it could also become a haven for those animals that have been displaced from their homes.
In order to have the best garden possible, you need to decide what kind of environment you’d like it to be.
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Pick an area with a lot of sun
In order for your plants, trees, and berries to grow, they need sunlight. Therefore, choosing an area the gets the most natural light is vital to creating a garden that will flourish and prosper.
Include some ground cover in your garden
Ground cover and shelter are important for wildlife like hedgehogs because it helps provide them with the environment that they need. Ground cover can be used to help fill in a wildlife garden’s bare spaces while also providing shelter for animals, thus giving them ideal living space.
The shelter is also important because some animals need more protection than others. Birds, for example, are usually seen flying about in the skies above while other animals like insects prefer to live beneath something or someplace because they’re afraid of being eaten by birds.
Decorate your garden with things like dead wood stumps, old fallen logs, or other natural items that provide unique textures and coverings for wildlife.
Plant trees and shrubs that will provide food for animals
Trees and shrubs can provide food for animals like produce, berries, seeds, and nuts. These are typically very high up in the branches or on the ground where animals have to work hard to eat them.
Some trees that wildlife enjoy include fruit-bearing trees such as apple, cherry, plum, peach, pear trees or bushes like blackberry and redcurrant.
Consider the use of hedges
Hedges are very good for wildlife because they provide excellent cover and food. The bushes and leaves on the hedges seem to grow big enough where animals can feel safe from other predators that would prey on them.
Hedges also provide a great hiding place for all the animals in your garden, allowing them to take cover until they feel ready to leave. Hedges also provide shelter and places for birds to build their nests. It’s important to keep the hedges groomed so they can provide the best possible environment for animals and wildlife.
Install nest boxes for garden birds or other small animals
Create nesting locations for birds or other animals by building a nest box. Not only will this give wildlife an extra place to live, but it will give you the chance to watch them interact with one another! Be sure to make entry holes at each end of the nest boxes so that birds can easily enter and exit.
Also important is the type of nest box you use. Be sure to get a variety of boxes because different animals prefer different types of boxes. For example, birds like open nests that have round entrances while other animals need more enclosed spaces with small openings for security.
Grow Flowers for pollinators
We depend on pollinators to keep plants and crops flourishing. Nurseries are planting specific varieties of native plants and flowers that seem more attractive to bees, wasps, butterflies and moths, and other pollinators but many homeowners don’t realize they can get started by adjusting their own garden spaces.
The best plants for pollinators are those that produce nectar and pollen particularly when they are in flower, Lavender and Buddleja are always favourite nectar for bees.
If you have space, leave a patch of grass in your garden to grow a little longer than the rest and sow wildflower seeds. Not only is this low maintenance and attractive but it also provides a perfect habitat for bees and butterflies.
Don't forget about your paving
It is easy to make large paved areas look a lot nicer when you break up the hard surfaces with plants and gravel. Plus, flowers are an attractive substrate that provides extra drainage capacity.
Try planting low-growing sun lovers such as sedums, gentians and Sisyrinchium. Even plants like creeping jenny or thyme that can handle being driven over will create an attractive landscaping effect.
Make sure that you have plenty of water available for all of the wildlife
Adding water features in the garden has many benefits and can provide a beautiful spot to enjoy wildlife while also giving additional space for them to live.
Birds love water features and will enjoy bathing in it as well as drinking from it to stay hydrated. Water attracts insects, frogs, newts and many other animals that like to play or hide in the nooks of a garden water feature.
It is essential to have water features in your garden because wildlife in your garden will not stick around and make your garden home if there isn’t a good supply of water.
Add some bird Feeders
Many gardeners enjoy watching the birds in their garden. One way to attract more birds is to provide bird feeders for garden wildlife. There are many different types of bird feeders you can purchase online or at garden centres, such as:
- Hanging: these can be hung from trees, poles, or poles that are already in place in the garden and are a great option for garden wildlife because they’re not in the way. They have large openings where the seed will fall out once it’s been eaten so birds won’t run into it.
- Pole mounted: these have small openings on both sides and deter pests from eating the seeds inside by making them jump through a trap. These come with rotatable brackets that can be moved around to different garden spaces so you aren’t limited in the garden space they’re placed in.
- Ground feeders: these usually have a large opening where seeds will fall out and cover most of the garden area. These are great for garden wildlife because they attract birds from farther away but they scatter seeds across your garden space so you’ll have to spend more time cleaning up.
- Automatic: these will automatically dispense seeds out of a container that holds them so garden wildlife doesn’t need to keep coming back to get food. This is ideal because it attracts garden wildlife and keeps pests away.
Note… your bird feeders are likely to attract some unwanted guests namely squirrels that will be more than happy to help themselves. To scare away squirrels, add a spoonful of chilli powder or hot sauce to the bird food. Birds cannot taste the salt and will not be affected by it in any way. To deter squirrels from accessing your bird feeder, buy a feeder with a spring-loaded cover. You can easily protect your bird feeder from squirrels by placing a downward-facing biscuit tin beneath the feeder or connecting a cut in half bottle around it.
Encourage Bats to your plot
It can be difficult to establish a habitat for bats in your garden. The challenges of keeping these creatures happy include keeping them warm, keeping them safe from predators, and keeping their food sources in close proximity – especially if you want to encourage them to move into a particular location within your garden. Bats will seek out hollow trees and crevices in your garden where they can easily find a cosy hideaway. You can help them by popping a bat box or two up in your garden to provide a safe place for them to live and raise their young.
Bats in your garden will provide a natural pest control service; keeping those pesky mosquitoes at bay and keeping bug populations low.
Compost heap - a must-have
Wildlife in your garden love a compost heap, this simple bug hotel addition in your garden will give refuge to many wildlife species, such as woodlice, birds, slowworms, grass snakes, beetles, hedgehogs and toads.
Who doesn't like honey
It will require a bit more time and effort but keeping bees is the best thing you can do for your wildlife-friendly garden. Bees are very important in keeping flowers and trees healthy so that they can produce food for us. They also help pollinate many fruits, vegetables and plants we use every day as part of our diet. In order to keep these insects happy all year long, it’s important to provide them with a home that will shelter them from winter weather and protect their hive from predators.
If you are thinking about keeping bees then your local beekeeping association is the best place to start. They will have all the information that you need for what is going on in your area. Take a look at British Beekeeping Association website for help and to find your local branch!
Help your wildlife evolve
Be sure to clean out your wildlife garden at least once every couple of years so that you can keep it healthy for many different species. And, if you are interested in adding any domestic animals into your garden plan, just make sure to fence them off or else you will risk having some smaller animals injured or killed.
Although wildlife-friendly gardens can be fun for the whole family, it’s a good idea to make sure that children are old enough before they help maintain the garden so that they don’t harm any animals by accident and so that they understand which plants and trees are safe to touch and which aren’t.
Wildlife gardening has rapidly become a simple way that each and every one of us can help the environment.
Providing food and shelter for local wildlife, pollinating insects and native species is good for our wellbeing and provides a landscape of activity that can be enjoyed. Get involved and help wildlife to thrive.