How To Make Your Garden Wildlife Friendly

With over 16 million gardens in the UK according to statistics from The National Trust, it's important to see these outdoor spaces as a great opportunity to help species that may be struggling to survive in the wild. From buying sustainable furniture like a wooden bench to putting out bird feeders, here are some top tips.

Creating Wildlife Habitats

The RSPB assures homeowners that even if they have a small garden, they can still create a range of habitats suited to all kinds of wildlife in your garden. The key is to think about how much space is available and focus on making microhabitats that are as good as possible. Leaving an area of lawn long and un-cut will be a haven for minibeasts and insects while even a narrow border with shrubs and flowers will be a food source for bees and butterflies.

Hedges and trees are a convenient site for nesting and roosting for mammals and birds and if you have space for a pond or even a small water feature, this can be home to amphibians and invertebrates. If you have a composting bin or a woodpile, the discarded and decomposing off-cuts from your plants, trees and lawn can be a great spot in which animals can hibernate, feed and live.

Choose The Right Plants 

The Royal Horticultural Society points out the importance of selecting the right plants for your garden if you want to attract wildlife. Flowers which can provide nectar and pollen for butterflies, insects and bees are essential and avoiding large and double flowers as well as highly bred cultivar plants is very important since they have very little nectar and pollen.

Plants like Mahonia and crocus flowers have a long season and are a good choice, while ivy and the Michaelmas daisy, flower late in the season and so can help provide a useful food source in early winter when it is scarce.

Consider Sustainability

Although eco-friendliness has become a buzzword these days, sustainability is a key part of creating a wildlife-friendly garden environment. For example, avoiding peat is important, since extracting peat can actually destroy wildlife habitats. You can save water too by setting up water barrels and butts to collect rainwater for topping up ponds and water features.

Recycling is a great way to increase sustainability, and using old materials like planks and pallets are ideal if you're considering building a raised border or structure for your garden. You should also consider using non-chemical and non-toxic alternatives to traditional pesticides.

Increasing Access

Instead of surrounding your garden with solid plank fences, consider changing your fencing to a more open design with empty space at the bottom to allow wildlife to move freely around your outdoor area. Small mammals will be able to access your garden even more easily if you switch to a border of hedges or trees instead of fencing.

Another way to facilitate the movement of wildlife in your garden is to connect up any large expanses of exposed space with corridors of plants so that invertebrates, newts and frogs can move more easily from space to space.

Shelter and Breeding Spaces 

All wildlife species need a safe place to shelter and breed. You can provide this for them in your garden by planting climbing plants against your walls for birds to nest in, installing bat and bird boxes in your trees or on your fences and by planting hedge garlic and buckthorn bushes which are both favourite breeding spots for butterflies.

Make A Rockery

By designing a small rockery, a dry stone wall or even just a pile of rocks in the corner of your outdoor space, you can encourage newts, frogs and toads to shelter in your garden. A rocky area also provides shelter for a number of insect species including ladybirds during the winter months. 

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  1. I can't wait to move house and create a wildlife corner, we always try and think of the garden creatures, it's so important to remember them.

  2. This makes me want to have garden, my flat doesn't even have a balcony! x

  3. We have loads of wildlife in our garden naturally, but these are some great tips to attract some more.

  4. Oh perfect timing! We've got a decent sized garden for the first time and I've been wondering what I can do to help the wildlife during the colder months.

  5. We have lots of wildlife in our garden which we love, we would always welcome more visitors x

  6. I always ensure I have been friendly flowers throughout the summer x

  7. These are all such great ideas! My garden has the basics like a bird feeder and plenty of plants but having 2 dogs means I can't do much more without them wrecking it. I'd love to have a pond but that's a definite no go; my dogs would be in it in no time.

  8. We make sure we keep our bird house topped up with bread and things for the birds. We also get a lot of hedgehogs, so try to accommodate for those too :)

    1. That's good to know. Current advice is not to feed hedgehogs milk but food like cat or dog food is good.

  9. Love these, great ideas!!!! I love nature and am all about helping it sustain!

  10. Love helping the wildlife but with 4 dogs it is impossible. I have to save the frogs and put them in the pond at the front of our house x

  11. Wish we had a bigger garden ours is so tiny would love to do all this for the wildlife. Had a hedgehog about 2 months ago he ate 2 pouches of the cats food, Smudge (The Cat) was not impressed!