Widlife really divides the garden world. Those who consider their gardens as an additional room to their house, and populate it with furniture and lighting, may not want foxes skittering across their water feature. True green fingers with wildflower beds and shaded trees capes may want nothing more than to hear the shuffle of hedgehogs at dusk. And equally – the opposite may be true for both!
For us, down here in leafy Bromley, we like nothing more than seeing wildlife visit our gardens. It really brings the space to life and gives you confidence that you’ve created a space worthy of your locality’s natural world. If you’re of a similar mind, here are some things you can do to encourage a natural habitation:
Besides the pleasant buzzing of a bumblebee on a warm summer’s day, insects bring a whole host of benefits to your garden. Luckily, attracting them is relatively simple. Biodiversity can be encouraged through simple log piles, which will attract lots of insects as well as mammals and amphibians if there’s water nearby. If you want to attract ladybirds, you can tie bundles of hard grass or soft wood together, and stuffing them into wall cracks or tree hollows. Wasps and bees will set up camp if there are areas to lay their eggs, like fence posts with holes drilled into them. Or a terracotta pot filled with straw and leaves will make an ideal winter home, rather than a nest. Dead wood can be left alone in piles to attract centipedes (who will eat the slugs plaguing your flowerbed!)
Foxes and hedgehogs are the most common mammals you’ll find around most gardens, particularly those in urban environments. Mice will also make an appearance if you’re lucky. Logpiles shaped like tents make ideal shelters for hedgehogs, something lots of people neglect to consider when they’re lighting bonfires. If you want to let these in, but keep out foxes, badgers and larger mammals; make small holes in your fence the size of a CD case. Domestic pet food, like dry cat/dog biscuits, will also attract mammals.
If you want to attract amphibians, your number one ally is a pond. It’s the most useful element for attracting most types of wildlife, but amphibians in particular. If you’re going to build or buy one, make sure that it has shallow edges so that frogs and newts can easily access the water. Make sure you keep the pond clean and chemical-free, wildlife can be more selective than you think. Choose the right plants for your pond and its borders, and you won’t be able to stop the wildlife from flocking in.
And finally for the classic – birds. You can never have too many bird boxes, or bird feeders, but bear in mind which birds are native to your particular area. For example, if there are sparrows in your neighbourhood then they will prefer a multi-compartment nest box as multiple families often nest in close proximity. Dead wood left on trees can attract birds too, as well as bats.
Eden Restored is a team of passionate garden designers working throughout London, Kent and Surrey.
We deliver value-for-money on projects of any size, from inner-city courtyards to countryside cottages.
To discuss your ideas and how we can help throughout the entire process, get in touch.