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Wildlife friendly gardens

How to make your garden a haven for wildlife 

Your garden is a place to relax, socialise and enjoy all nature has to offer. But, you can also make your outdoor sanctuary a haven for wildlife, from ladybirds to all-important honeybees. Wildlife is essential to our planet and ecosystem, so cultivating an outdoor space that grows, shelters and feeds them is a great way to do your bit. 

If you’re unsure where to start with creating a wildlife friendly garden, look no further, as this comprehensive guide can get you started on your wildlife conservation journey. From certain types of garden furniture and wildlife supplies to growing specific plants, you can transform your backyard into a wildlife sanctuary. 

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How do I attract wildlife to my garden? 

A huge number of small animals can live in your garden and there are multiple ways you can attract them, and the best part? You can do so cost-effectively as well as incorporating specific attractions that are pleasing to the eye! 

Different products, methods and plants are best for different species. So, let’s take a look at what you can do in your garden depending on the wildlife you want to attract. 

What types of wildlife can I attract to my garden? 

Creating a bee friendly garden 

Bees are vital to the ecosystem as they pollinate crops that us humans need to survive and plants that countless other wildlife need to live on. Creating a garden that is bee friendly not only benefits the environment but will help your flowers, trees and plants flourish, too! 

How to make your garden bee friendly: 

  • Bee friendly plants: There’s a huge choice of flowers you can plant that will attract bees such as lavender, foxgloves, dahlia, honeysuckle and crocus. If you have a large garden you can plant bee friendly trees like fruit trees, willow and maple trees. There’s also a number of bee friendly shrubs you can plant for those with not enough outdoor space for a tree including buddleia, roses, hydrangea and rhododendron. 

  • Install a bee house/hotel: If you want to cultivate honey bees you can purchase a bee house that will accommodate the production of honey and provide a breeding place for cavity-nesting bees. 

  • Make a bee nest: If you’re wanting to create a bee friendly garden on a budget, you can make your own bee nest. Simply use a wooden box (with one side open to allow bees to come inside) and fill it with sticks, bamboo canes and dead stems. 

  • Provide a water source: Fill a tray or bucket with water (preferably rainwater), but ensure it is not too deep as the bees may drown whilst trying to drink. Bees need water to rehydrate, regulate body temperature and help honey production. 

If you want to create a safe haven for our black and yellow winged friends, ensure you do the above towards the bottom of your garden away from the entrance to your home. Also make sure any bee nests or houses you build are away from the reach of children or pets, a few feet above ground and sheltered. 

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How to attract ladybirds to your garden 

Believed to signify luck, ladybirds (or ladybugs) are a great creature to have in your garden, as they eat a number of pests that may damage your plants. If you want to turn your garden into a bug haven for our red and black spotted friends, here’s how you can do so: 

  • Ladybird friendly flowers and herbs: Planting flowers like fennel, angelica and marigolds are great for attracting ladybugs and herbs such as dill, mint and parsley - that you can then use in the kitchen, too! 

  • Create a bug hotel: An insect hotel provides shelter for various bugs and wildlife, which is particularly important for ladybirds to hide from predators, such as birds. A bug hotel will vary slightly depending on the insects you want to attract, but for ladybirds you should use pinecones and dried leaves and set the space up  in a small corner of your garden as they like to burrow. 

  • Avoid chemicals: To cultivate any wildlife in your garden you will need to avoid using any chemicals as these are harmful to pretty much all insects. 

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How to make your garden more bird friendly 

Having birds in your garden is a great form of natural pest control, particularly if you’ve been hard at working growing certain plants and vegetables. Birds can also help to keep your lawn looking nice and fresh as they remove insects that can damage your grass and some species of bird are pollinators, too!  

There are a number of ways you can attract birds to your garden, such as: 

  • Bird feeders: Bird feeders are mesh cylinders often hung on trees or other high-up fixtures providing various seeds and nuts for birds to eat. When hanging your bird feeder make sure you put it somewhere protected from strong winds and high up enough so that cats and other pets can’t attack. 

  • Bird boxes: A bird box (or bird house) is a small enclosed feature that provides a safe place for birds to nest, depending on location and size of hole will determine what birds you attract. The colder months such as Autumn and Winter are the best time to put up a bird box as this is when birds tend to look for a suitable place to nest, similar to bird feeders you should keep your bird box high-up away from predators and pets.  

  • Bird baths: Not only are bird baths pleasing to the eye, but they provide a place for birds to bathe and drink from. Ensure the water is kept fresh (usually every 2-4 days), reasonably shallow and kept in a shady spot so the water remains a cool temperature. 

  • Bird tables: Bird tables are a great way to make your garden bird-friendly as you can provide food and shelter, they also come in a variety of sizes, colours and designs so you can find one that complements your garden aesthetic.  

  • Natural food sources: Planting certain trees and bushes that grow various berries can act as a natural food source for birds, in turn attracting them to your outdoor space. 

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Transforming your garden into a wildlife sanctuary is a key way for you to do your bit to maintain biodiversity. Biodiversity is the different species of animals and plants in an area and is vital to supporting all life on Earth.  

So, not only will your garden look great as certain wildlife keep away pests, but you’re doing something great for the planet, too!