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The Gap Year Blog

Making Your Garden Wildlife-Friendly This Summer

30 Jul 2020 21:20 PM

With more of us staying at home than ever before this summer, many of us have likely considered taking advantage of the good weather and getting out into the garden. The summer is a great time to put your green fingers to good use, whether it be general maintenance, adding new features or completely re-designing your outdoor space. Most of us take a huge amount of pride in our gardens and how they look, but as well as keeping up appearances, they also have a key role to play in the conservation of British wildlife.

There is plenty you can do to transform your garden into much-needed habitat for birds, insects and small mammals, including adding wildlife-friendly plants and taking good care of your green spaces. This guide will provide some handy hints and tips on how to attract the ‘Best of British’ to your garden this summer.


Make Your Garden Accessible

Allowing animals to access your garden with ease is a great first step in creating your own wildlife haven. Our gardens have the potential to provide shelter and nourishment for countless UK species and act as vital ‘green corridors’ to allow small mammals such as hedgehogs to pass through safely. Consider creating a clear runway through your garden - and don’t forget the entrances and exits! Make a small hole or opening in or beneath your fence, or even replace your fences with native hedgerows which are great habitats for birds and small mammals.

In terms of your lawn or grassed areas, you should consider keeping some sections longer - and wilder - for the benefit of wildlife. Creating mown paths through your lawn or mowing areas of grass to different lengths can be a good compromise; providing a neat look while ensuring wildlife can survive and thrive. For advice on creating a perfectly styled lawn for your garden, take a look at the articles available on Mowers Online.


Provide Water Sources

Water sources are vital for birds and small mammals of all kinds, so consider placing them at a variety of heights. Raised bird baths are a great idea and a safe bet for most species. Having a water source closer to the ground will provide for hedgehogs and other small mammals. You may even consider adding a small pond to your garden, which is ideal habitat for amphibians and insects - they can also look great and serve as a focal point in any garden.


Add The Best Plants For Birds and Pollinators

Adding the right plants to your garden is a great way to attract pollinators other insects and birds. Honeysuckle provides great nesting habitat for birds, while flowers like marigolds and cosmos are among the most butterfly-friendly. Plants such as Lavender and Salvia are rich in pollen and nectar and are sure to encourage bees.

Also consider planting wildflower seeds on verges and in patches of long grass to create areas of meadow habit - ideal for bees and other insects.


Feed and House The Birds And Bees

Providing edibles for birds in your garden is a sure-fire way to attract new visitors. Bird feeders, bird tables and hangable edibles such as coconut husks provide a valuable food source for many different species, so it’s a good idea to place food at different heights in a variety of feeders to ensure everyone is catered for.

And why not add a bird house to a fence or tree to provide a peaceful alternative to public spaces for nesting birds - the same applies to bees and other insects too. Bug houses can be a quirky feature to spruce up your borders and other ground areas. Check out this guide from the RSPB for some inspiration.

Add Some Natural Features

While man-made houses and feeders have their advantages, some animals and insects might prefer more familiar habitat. Adding some more natural features to your garden could provide the perfect home for insects, birds and small mammals. A rock garden can be a great hiding place for all kinds of wildlife and can look great alongside a pond or as a border. Also, placing pieces of deadwood around your garden will provide great habitat for bugs - and a food source for birds - as well as adding a wild and rustic charm.


Record your sightings

After making adjustments to accommodate more wildlife, perhaps the best way to ensure continued success is to make a record of your sightings and see how the numbers compare with other years or seasons. As well as measuring your own stock as a responsible gardener, your findings could also benefit nationwide conservation projects, with many organisations keeping a close eye on species numbers to inform future projects. By taking part in national campaigns such as Big Garden Birdwatch from the RSPB, you’ll be providing crucial information for the conservation of British wildlife, as well as reaping the benefits of your own hard work.

By following the above advice, your garden will not only be the envy of your neighbours, but you’ll also play a part in protecting Britain’s local wildlife.

By Ruby Clarkson, Frontier Guest Writer

Frontier runs terrestrial and marine conservationcommunity and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!