Having more wildlife in your garden isn’t just nice to see but is also great for the environment and the ecosystems in your area. The more we look after them, the more they will reward us with their presence. So, if like me, you want to see more cute critters coming to your outdoor space, try some of these tips to attract wildlife to your garden…
Adding trees, hedges, plants, flowers, real grass, growing fruit and vegetables are all part of the most important steps you can take to attract wildlife to your garden. You need to give those birds, insects, hedgehogs, squirrels and so on a reason to visit and a concrete jungle just isn’t going to cut it. Wildlife is going to be looking for homes, shelter, food, bedding materials and a place that will provide them with a feeling of safety.
Build Bug Houses
Insects are incredibly vital to our planet so the more you can bring into your garden the better! I know they can get a bad rep sometimes but even those slugs and snails play important roles, especially if you have a compost bin. By building bug houses you will be encouraging many of them to come in and stay. I have a quick DIY blog post here on building one but honestly, bugs aren’t too fussy, as long as you give them cover, layers with sticks, stones, leaves etc to hide inside, then they are pretty happy. If building one isn’t for you, you can pick up readymade ones at affordable prices like this one here. Once you get a good variety of bugs and insects in your garden you will then of course begin to see the arrival of their predators in the form of birds, hedgehogs and frogs.
Just Add Water
Having a water source in your garden all year round is a great way of attracting wildlife to your garden. This could be in the shape of a water feature, a pond, a birdbath or just a bowl/tub to collect rainwater. We built a wildlife pond out of a planter last year and we have already seen the arrival of more birds who stop off for a drink, water snails, we’ve had hoverfly larvae, damselflies and I am really hoping for more this coming year.
Feed the Birds
As long as you don’t have any pets who could be a problem for birds then feeding the birds in your area all year round is a really simple way of getting more wildlife into your back garden. Birds do remember where the feeders are and will return again and again to get their feed. By also providing trees, bushes, plants as mentioned above, you may also begin to see some taking roost here too. I have a more detailed blog on bird feeding here.
Hedgehogs like to be able to come and go easily from gardens – did you know they can walk up to 2km per night?! So in order to provide this for them, you should think about cutting holes in your fences for them to walk freely through. Of course, you will also need to get your neighbour’s permission for this. Once you have, you will want to measure a section 13cmx13cm and carefully use a hack saw to cut their doorway. And if you want to make it look a little fancier then check out this Hedgehog Highway Doorway on Etsy.
We’ve covered creating homes for insects/bugs above but how about also having ones for birds, hedgehogs, frogs, bees and so on too? Again, as long as you have a safe enough garden for birds, add a birdbox or two to bring in some new residents. If your hedgehogs like passing through your garden, perhaps they’d like to make their home here too? Hedgehog houses not only look super cute but they are also ideal for encouraging these lovely little animals to stay. Frogs don’t actually need ponds to live in, in fact, ours lives under the kids mud kitchen area. We popped down some decking squares which just sat on top of soil and grass for their play equipment to go on top of and it turns out it also provides a perfect little hidey-hole, a nice damp environment plus lots of food in the form of bugs and lots of slugs for our Mr Frog. We also have a tub of water nearby for him to take a dip if he feels he needs to. As long as you can create a home that has all of these qualities, you may well start seeing frogs in your garden too.
We usually think of hives when we say homes for bees but not all bees live in colonies and solitary bees still need a place to lay their eggs. Most bughouses on the market should include tubes that are intended for these types of bees to come to but you can also get bee bricks that can either sit on their own or be cemented into the wall of your house.
Don’t Be Too Tidy!
And lastly, to attract more wildlife to your garden all year round don’t be too quick to tidy your outdoor space. Allow your grass to grow long at times (last year we took part in No Mow May and we’d never seen so many insects and our grass had never looked so lush!) Let those dandelions grow! Pure golden nectar for the bees. Leave a pile of deadwood for all wildlife to enjoy, leave the leaves after winter for as long as possible as these provide a lot of warmth and shelter. Don’t cut hedges and trees back too far, especially during nesting seasons. A garden should have growth, it should have different sections, it doesn’t need to be completely pruned and preened, it needs to give wildlife a reason to visit.
Have you tried any other ways to attract wildlife to your garden? Let me know in the comments to help other readers.
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