From goldfinches to hedgehogs, you can spot a lot of British wildlife without having to leave your home if you create a haven in your garden. If you want to create a place where nature can flourish, a few simple changes to your outdoor space can have a huge effect.
Garden Wildlife Week will take place between 6 and 12 June, making now the perfect time to give your garden an update with insects, birds, and other creatures in mind.
Gardens play a huge role in creating a well-balanced ecosystem, but some gardening trends can discourage wildlife and even harm them. Just a few changes could support the environment.
According to iNews, the growth in wildlife-friendly gardens means that urban hedgehogs numbers are growing after decades of decline. It’s estimated that hedgehog populations have fallen by 30 to 75% this century but homeowners are reversing this by embracing new trends.
If you want to support nature, here are eight ways you can encourage more wildlife in your garden.
1. Dedicate part of your garden to wildflowers
Encouraging wildlife doesn’t have to mean getting rid of your carefully cultivated borders, but letting a portion of your outdoor space become wild can help.
Just a small corner or planter that’s filled with native wildflowers is a good option – they’re easy to grow, are attractive to all sorts of insects, which in turn can attract birds and bats, and they can look pretty too. Great options are forget-me-nots and foxgloves.
Choose plants that provide pollen or nectar for as long as possible to create a haven throughout the year.
2. Do away with a carefully manicured lawn
A manicured lawn has become a common feature in homes across the UK, but it isn’t good for attracting wildlife.
Mowing less frequently or leaving a small patch uncut can lead to plants like daises and buttercups springing up. It can add a touch of colour to your garden as well as be inviting to wildlife.
3. Fill bird feeders with nuts and seeds
One of the easiest ways to encourage wildlife is to provide a source of food. Just a few birdfeeders placed around your garden can be enough to encourage common birds, like robins and goldfinches, to frequently stop by.
Place the birdfeeders in or close to trees or other plants that will provide some cover so that birds feel safe using them. You might even see some squirrels using the feeders too.
4. Add a source of water
Much like providing food, a source of water can lead to far more birds and other animals entering your garden, especially during extreme weather.
A small dish or birdbath is enough to reap the rewards if you don’t want a pond. Surround the water with plants to provide some cover and make sure there’s a ramp so animals can get out if they fall in.
5. Choose hedges instead of fences or walls
If you’re updating the boundary of your garden, what you use will affect wildlife.
Hedges are the best option if you want to embrace nature – they can provide a space for animals to feed, shelter, and nest throughout the year. Hedges also mean there are more openings for animals like hedgehogs to access your garden.
If you have a fence or wall, adding climbing plants can help make your garden more wildlife-friendly and leaving a small hole for animals to pass through can help as well.
6. Plant shrubs and trees
Research has found that wildlife prefers gardens that have plants and shrubs. There are plenty of British options to choose from, including fruit trees that can become a food source.
Be mindful when adding trees to choose one that suits your garden size and that the roots or branches will not damage your property. Silver birches are a popular option if you have a good-sized garden, while dogwood is suitable for smaller outdoor spaces.
7. Add places for wildlife to shelter
To encourage wildlife to make your garden their home, add a place where they can shelter and nest. An easy option is to make bird boxes, bug hotels, or hedgehog houses part of your garden’s design.
If you prefer a natural look, leaving a pile of wood in a shady spot or creating a low maintenance rock garden can be just as effective.
8. Opt for sustainable gardening products
Sustainability is a growing trend in gardening and one that can help wildlife too. Choosing products that don’t contain harmful chemicals, composting, or selecting garden furniture that’s made from natural materials are all steps you can take to make your garden as environmentally friendly as possible.