Top 9 tips to turn your garden into a wildlife haven
Green-fingered homeowners are being urged to help bugs and birds this season by creating a wildlife haven in their own back garden.
Gardening experts at GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk have compiled nine top tips to help keen horticulturalists attract a wealth of wildlife into their gardens.
From scattering wildflowers to installing bird boxes, there are lots of simple ways for gardeners to help out local friendly visitors by providing plenty of food and shelter in their outdoor spaces.
Inviting wildlife to gardens has many benefits: visitors will create a stable ecosystem in the garden, meaning there will be less outbreaks of disease. Also, bugs and birds will help in pollinating the plants and eating away any pests which are damaging shrub growth.
A spokesperson for GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk said: “It can be really hard for birds and bugs to find enough food and shelter for themselves, especially when they are miles away from any completely rural landscapes.
“But luckily, it is really easy for us green-fingered lot to help create a perfect haven for lots of friendly visitors in our own gardens. Many of us want to attract bugs and birds but are not sure on the best ways to do so and worry that we will instead attract unwanted visitors such as rats.
“We have put together our nine top tips on how to create the perfect wildlife haven in your own back garden to encourage wanted visitors. These tips are really easy and quick to do, but will provide your garden with the long term benefits of having wildlife buzzing and crawling about.”
GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk’s tips to create a wildlife haven in the garden
Bird boxes make great havens for flying visitors, but it is important to install them high up in a sheltered area. Putting out food such as fat balls and seeds, also encourages birds to the gardens. Place feeders close to a covered bush to discourage unwanted cats and to provide the birds with cover.
Bug hotels are a great activity to do with children, and can really encourage all kinds of insects into outside spaces. Simply organise a selection of twigs, rocks and rotting wood in piles around the garden. Soon enough, bugs such as beetles and spiders will be settling in!
Grow native flowers
Flowers add a beautiful scent and colourful landscape to gardens, but they also importantly provide food for insects. Grow lots of varieties of flowers to ensure that bugs are provided with food all year round. Pick out native flowers specifically, as insects and bugs have already evolved to feed off these.
Leave the weeds
In a patch in the garden, have a break from weeding. Weeds such as nettles, buttercups and daisies may be unwanted in some gardens, but will really attract wildlife. Insects rely on weeds as important sources of food because they flower throughout the year when other food sources may be scarce.
Using homemade compost will not only heavily enrich the soil of gardens, but also provide habitat for insects. Worms, woodlice, frogs and slowworms will all make home in composts, and will speed up the decomposition process too. To avoid any rats, ensure to only add raw foods into the compost.
With rapidly declining levels of hedgehog populations throughout the UK, clear a ‘hedgehog highway’ in the garden to help the animals. Leave gaps in the fence for hedgehogs to move through, and ask neighbours to do the same. This way, during their nighttime travels, hedgehogs can stick to the safety of gardens and avoid any urban dangers.
Plant climbers up garden walls and fences to encourage a wealth of bugs, insects and birds. Flowers and seeds from ivy provide a great source of pollen and food, as well as long term cover for visitors such as caterpillars. Pyracantha is also a great climber for wildlife as its spring flowers and autumn berries give seasonal food for garden visitors.
Herbs can be grown in the garden for not only culinary purposes, but to also attract wildlife. The flowering thyme will encourage butterflies and bees, as well as the nectar and pollen from flowering sage plants. Angelica gives food for insects too, and birds will eat the seeds.
Grow a garden sized meadow to encourage a wildlife haven. Scatter seeds of poppies, cornflowers, cowslip, nigella and varieties of grass. Wildflowers are fantastically low maintenance, look wonderful, and insects love them for food and shelter purposes.