How To Attract Wildlife To Your Garden (With Landscaping)
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, with one in seven species facing extinction and 40% in decline, including such popular creatures as hedgehogs, red squirrels and water voles.
Why’s this happening? Unfortunately, it’s a perfect storm of circumstances, with certain agricultural practices, pollution, climate change and loss of habitat all playing a significant part. It can be easy to feel helpless in the face of such a situation, but if you have a garden, there are things you can do to encourage wildlife to thrive there.
This month, we’re taking a look at some of the best garden and landscape design ideas you can use to attract wildlife to your garden.
Build A Garden Pond
Water features – and we’re talking about ponds here rather than swimming pools – are among the best things you can add to your garden to attract wildlife. It doesn’t have to be big, even a small pond will quickly attract all kinds of insects. And once you’ve got insects, amphibians (frogs and newts, mainly) and birds will quickly follow, perhaps even dragonflies and bats.
Make sure your pond is kept topped up, especially during the hot summer months – use rainwater or water that’s been left to stand for a day or two rather than anything straight out of the tap, as the fluoride added to our water isn’t good for them.
Let Some Of Your Garden Go Wild
Gardens that are too tidy don’t leave anywhere for creatures to hide from predators. You don’t have to let the whole space become overrun, just leave a few areas that look natural rather than overly manicured. That could be leaving a section of your lawn unmowed or having borders and beds that are not weeded to within an inch of their lives every dry weekend. A variety of habitats will mean you’re providing something for everyone in your wildlife garden.
Fill Your Borders with Flowering Plants and Shrubs
Your pond will attract certain types of insects, but create beds and borders full of the right kind of flowering plants and you’ll also start getting lots of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. Why is this important? Well, without them, somewhere between 75% and 95% of our flowering plants would be unable to reproduce. Planting the right things in your garden is an essential part of boosting biodiversity – things like grape hyacinths and bluebells in the early flowering season, lavender and verbena in mid season, and honeysuckle and French marigold in late season are all good choices.
Create A Woodpile or Compost Heap
Woodpiles and compost heaps are also places a variety of different insects will quickly occupy. Insects are one of the major food sources for our birds, so once they get to know your garden is a good place to feed, they’ll make it a regular stopping point. Woodpiles are also good places for insects like wasps and butterflies to hibernate through winter and, if you’re really lucky, slow worms, frogs, newts and stag beetles might also set up home there at different times.
Incorporate A Hedgehog Highway
It’s estimated that we’ve lost something like three-quarters of our rural hedgehogs in the last 20 years. Doing everything we can to help them live their lives naturally is going to go some way towards helping them recover. Hedgehogs can travel up to two kilometres in a single night, which means enclosed gardens can leave them trapped and unable to forage for food.
If you want to see them in your garden, you can help them along by creating a ‘hedgehog highway’ that enables them to get from one garden to the next. When you’re having new fencing installed, leave a small gap at the bottom on either side of your garden so that hedgehogs can freely roam where they please – and don’t forget to encourage your neighbours to do the same.
Without such means of access and egress, hedgehogs otherwise have to resort to roaming on or near roads where they’re in danger of getting run over.
Whatever you want to do in your garden, including creating a more welcoming environment for your local wildlife, the gardening and landscaping experts at Urban Landscape Design and Construction are here to help. We’ve been helping customers in and around Cobham, Ascot, Esher and across West London and Surrey transform their outdoor spaces for years – why not take a look at our Gallery to discover some inspiration for what we could do for your home?
Get in touch with us now to find out more.