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How to Make Your Garden Wildlife Friendly

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Some of the UK’s most loved animals are in decline and at risk of extinction – beloved species such as the dormouse and hedgehog are seeing falling populations due to intensive farming, urbanisation, and climate change.

Sir David Attenborough has said, “The natural world is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before. We continue to lose the precious wildlife that enriches our lives and is essential to the health and wellbeing of those who live in the UK.” Luckily, there are steps that you can take to make your garden wildlife friendly and to promote the wellbeing of animals that are living in your area.

Your garden isn’t just a place for you to relax; it can also become an adventure and opportunity to spot different types of birds and animals who are living all around us. Creating habitats and opportunities for animals to breed, shelter, and hibernate is key to helping our domestic species to last through the generations.

Turn Your Garden into a Habitat

A perfect lawn looks good, but it does not help to preserve our wildlife for the next generation. While you do not need to forgo a beautiful decking area or patio, it is helpful to create a few areas in your garden that work as a good habitat for different species. This includes:

  • Long grass areas for birds to lay eggs  and for insects to live in
  • Varied trees and shrubs – ideally flowering ones to provide nectar and food sources
  • Water features to allow birds to bathe and drink and for amphibians to lay eggs

These can all be incorporated into your garden without compromising on the overall look and feel.

Provide Shelter for Animals

There are a huge number of ways that you can help animals survive the night or even the winter. Creating a safe home for wildlife means you are more likely to see and enjoy different species throughout the year. A few options include:

  • Installing trellis along your walls to provide an area for birds to roost
  • Installing a bat box
  • Creating a bee hotel
  • Leaving your borders until late winter or early spring so that the vegetation can provide shelter for insects
  • Planting honesty and hedge garlic for butterflies to enjoy
  • Building a hedgehog box and placing it out of direct sunlight and in thick vegetation (or behind your shed)

As well as providing shelters, it’s important to provide ways for animals to enter and exit your garden. While birds and insects can fly, hedgehogs and frogs need a hole in your fence to crawl through – especially if you have installed gravel boards.

Reduce Hazards for Your Wildlife

Once you have created good conditions for animals to live and thrive in your garden, it’s important to avoid harming them in other ways. Common garden items such as slug pellets, for example, can kill hedgehogs. Toxic wood preservatives can also leech into the soil and harm wildlife, so it’s important to work with natural or non-toxic paints and preservatives throughout your garden.