9 Ways To Make Your Garden More Wildlife Friendly This Summer

Today is a very good day.  The sun is shinning, the plants are flowering and it’s summer – time for really enjoying your gardening.

Josh from Mill Race Garden Centre has put together a terrific guide on how to appreciate all the space your garden provides, and how to encourage that all important wildlife into your garden setting.

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9 Ways To Make Your Garden More Wildlife Friendly This Summer

Watching wildlife is a fantastic way to spend the summer months, but how can you make your garden wildlife-friendly? Read on…

1. Don’t mow the grass

Okay, so you don’t have to leave all of your lawn to grow, but even a small corner could help your local wildlife population immensely in offering much-needed shelter. A couple of logs will also go down a treat with insects, which in turn will attract other wildlife, like birds, to your garden.

2. Install a pond

This might seem like a mammoth task, but it really doesn’t have to be. Remember, your pond can be as big or as small as you like – and you could even install a ready-made freestanding mini pond, if you’d prefer.

frog-540812_1280 (2)
Courtesy of Frank Winkler

As we said in this post that lists eight reasons a pond is a great addition to your property, ponds offer a source of water, which is very attractive to wildlife. However, to make sure that yours is genuinely useful to animals, birds and insects, try to make sure that your pond features lots of different levels of depth. For instance, a bumblebee will need a much shallower depth than a hedgehog might.

Also, be sure to provide plants nearby where wildlife can hide, as this will also make your pond more attractive. Expect to see dragonflies, frogs, birds and more congregating around your pond!

3. Leave an established garden alone

If your garden already features mature plants, it’s probably best not to take anything away if you can help it. Replacing plants could mean that lots of wildlife may actually lose their homes. Try to add rather than subtract if this is the case by introducing a couple of potted plants or containers, instead of uprooting the bedding plants.

4. Plant lots of flowers

The bee population is in decline at the moment, but us gardeners can make a huge difference to our local bee community in our own back yards. Plant a good variety of flowers that offer nectar that bees can eat – the RHS offers a handy list of plants that are good for pollinators right here.

Alongside flowers, try to also include shrubs and trees in your garden that flower or produce fruit at different points throughout the year, so that wildlife continue to be attracted to your garden long after summer has finished.

5. Grow local plants

Exotic flowers and plants are often beautiful, but sometimes they are not of much use to local wildlife. Where you can, introduce plants to your garden that can be found in your local woodland, or at the least in your county or country. These will be more likely to attract local wildlife, as birds, insects and animals will be used to eating from or sheltering in these plants in the wild.

6. Restrict pesticides and insecticides

Sometimes it can’t be avoided, for instance if you have an infestation, but wherever possible try not to use harsh chemicals in your gardening if you want to attract wildlife – those chemicals can end up harming the wildlife you actually want to encourage.

If you plan your garden carefully, eventually it should become a mini eco-system, with all populations kept under control through the food chain.

7. Install a bird feeder

Birds can struggle to find nutrient-rich food these days, so offering some good quality bird food will help our feathered friends enormously. Keep the kids occupied on a rainy day by making this bird cake recipe from the RSPB.

If you’ve no space for a pond, a bird bath or even a small saucer of water will work well to offer fresh water to local wildlife.

8. Put up bat boxes

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Courtesy of USFWS – Pacific Region

Many homes have bird boxes, but a lot of people aren’t so keen on bats. If you’re a fan of the cute little critters – and who could resist those adorable little faces? – give them a helping hand by installing a ready-made bat box, or even building your own.

9. Don’t go overboard

Do only as much as you’re able to, and keep your garden to your own tastes. If you feel as though your beautiful garden has been totally taken over by wildlife, it may put you off the endeavour for life! Remember that every little helps, and it is still your garden, so only do as much as you feel comfortable with.

Chances are, you’ll catch the nature bug and want to do more – but it’s better to add more wildlife- friendly features later, rather than end up paving the whole garden when you get fed up of the forest that your lawn has transformed into.

Conclusion

There are lots of things you can do to attract wildlife to your garden and make your outside space into a haven for local critters and insects, and most of it is loads of fun! Perhaps the best part, though, is that you have a fantastic excuse not to clear up that pile of leaves, or mow the lawn – you’re doing your bit! It just so happens that means you can also put your feet up occasionally, too.

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Have you tried out any of these ideas?  Would you add any more tips?  

What’s your favourite bird/insect/animal that you love seeing in your garden?

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