The buzz of a fat bumblebee, the song of a robin, the croak of a frog, and the pitter-pat of a squirrel – all of these wild creatures are a welcome sight amongst your flowers and plants.
Attracting wildlife into your garden is simple as long as you follow a few key tips. By making a few subtle (and major) changes in your gardening routine, you can send out the welcoming beacon to local insects, critters, amphibians, and birds. Hearing their delightful sounds and feeling their presence will help to make your garden even more special.
Sit and relax on your garden furniture or curl up with your loved one on a couples bench as you witness the wonder and marvel of nature buzzing and flying past.
If you want critters and insects to share your garden with you, you should say goodbye to harsh chemicals. Herbicides (weed killers), pesticides, and fungicides can all harm your visitors, so avoid them if possible. In many instances, a healthy amount of pests are part of the bigger picture of health in the air and soil. There are plenty of natural pesticides that can be just as effective as their chemical counterparts – why not give them a try?
If you truly want to lay out the welcome mat for wildlife of all kinds, consider installing or building a pond in your back garden. Small ponds will attract all kinds of critters to your space, including snakes, insects, newts, frogs, bats, and birds. Depending on how open your garden is – you might even attract larger animals, such as deer, to drink at your watering hole!
While you might be tempted to immediately clear away old tree trimmings, log piles, piles of fallen leaves, and other natural materials, don’t be too hasty. These elements can be used to provide shelter and hibernation sites for many different species, from hedgehogs to birds and invertebrates.
Weeds might feel like the bane of your existence as a gardener, but it can pay to tolerate some weeds. Daisies, dandelions, and nettles are all favourites of pollinators, attracting them to your garden and encouraging them to come back time and time again. If you’re worried that this will make your garden look unkempt, keep a ‘wild’ area out of sight where you can allow weeds to flourish.
Sure, tall fences make good neighbours, but they make for sterile and wildlife-free gardens! If you want to welcome local frogs and hedgehogs, ensure that you leave some gaps at the bottom of your fence. This will link your garden to your neighbours’ gardens, creating a larger habitat for the increasingly rare hedgehogs that are a hallmark of British life.
Many different species can benefit from long grass, allowing them to slink along and hide without the worry of predators. Ornamental long grasses are attractive and easy to maintain and look great at the edges of your garden, or as a central focal point – and there are plenty of types of long grass to choose from.
Birds are one of the most delightful visitors to any garden, and they benefit the ecosystem of any natural space. By installing bird boxes and feeding stations throughout your outdoor space, you can encourage them to visit time and time again. If you have local cats in the area, place the feeders in dense bushes or cover so that they can eat in peace. Include seeds in the winter, and additional protein (such as fat balls) in the spring.
Composting your organic material is an environmentally conscious way to keep waste out of the landfill, and it also helps to enrich your garden. Making your own compost will help you to increase the minerals and nutrients in our soil, and will benefit your entire garden. In addition to helping your plants and flowers bloom, your compost can also provide a vital habitat for insects, frogs, and worms. If you don’t want to encourage rats to visit, don’t add any cooked food to your compost – only add raw foods.
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.