Research in the UK shows that wildlife garden species such as hedgehogs, sparrows, and beetles are experiencing a decline in their population. Climate change, continuous urbanization, and overconsumption of resources are some of the known causes for the dwindling biodiversity, and the wildlife population has been finding it harder to seek habitats, as well as native plants that they need to thrive.
Creating a wildlife garden is one way to solve the biodiversity decline since doing so enables you to provide a place for animals and insects. You can transform your lawn or backyard into a haven for nature by planting the right plants or flowers to attract insects and pollinators, and build nests for animals to stay in. It’s also one of the ways you can make the most out of your garden’s potential by decorating and styling it in a way that’s friendly to wildlife.
Consider The Layout
One of the first important steps in making a wildlife garden is planning out the design you’d like for your garden. Consider how much space you have in the garden so you can make the appropriate changes and additions. A mowed lawn or yard looks neat and organized, but they’re not ideal for wildlife habitat, so you’d need to refrain from mowing and let the grass grow. If you’d like to be able to walk through your garden, you can create a single mown path where you can pass through…
If you have a shed, you can make a path with clay pavers or surround the path with flowers. Instead of fences, hedges are a recommended option as not only does it provide shelter for wildlife, but it allows you to separate spaces and create boundaries or screening in your garden. If you’re not ready to change your entire lawn or yard into a wildlife garden, it’s also possible to just use a portion of it as a space for wildlife.
Bug-Friendly Plants And Flowers
Wildflower patches can add some beauty to your garden and attract insects and pollinators. Consider planting different types of flowers and weeds to create some diversity. Any flower filled with nectar is considered attractive to butterflies like bird’s foot trefoil and self-heal. Both provide a good source of nectar for bumblebees and other bugs. A visually appealing garden doesn’t have to be overly colorful as you can make use of simple colors.
Purple-colored flowers can especially be helpful in attracting bees as they’re known to be attracted to the colors blue and violet. Insects also like to make their habitat in rotting or dead wood, so you can chop up some wood and build a bug or log house for them to breed in. For those with limited space in their garden, you can hang them on walls or on the fence in your backyard.
Create Variety With Shrub Beds
Shrub beds can give protection to wildlife animals and if they are properly maintained, you can also grow berries and flowers in them that can entice insects and birds. They’re also a great addition to a wildlife garden by giving it some color and making your garden look more interesting with their diverse shapes. Shrubs can be used to fill in gaps in garden borders, cover walls, or create boundaries in your garden in a similar function to hedges.
Native types of shrubs are more preferable when planting shrubs for the first time, but you can also plant non-native ones as long as you select shrubs that have flowers that are rich in nectar. It’s also more beneficial to have shrubs that produce flowers all year round. When trimming shrubs, it’s recommended not to get rid of the dead stems because some insects like to reside in rotting wood. Birds can feed on the insects inside the stems, but they can also use the stems as a place to perch on.
Aside from insects, berries are also a valuable source of food for birds, especially in winter. Other than providing food, homeowners can also enjoy the beautiful flowers that bloom during spring from different shrub types. Berry types like winterberry, beautyberry, or chokeberry have vibrant colors that can attract birds during winter, while dogwood and viburnum produce berries during fall.
Make a Compost Heap
Creating a compost heap in your garden allows you to make use of any leftovers from your kitchen and garden and turn it into a residence for species like slow worms, beetles, toads, and hedgehogs while also providing food for them. Fruit and vegetable peelings are a popular choice for organic compost, so use those and mix them with dead or dried plants, grass cuttings, and shredded paper. Be sure to find the right balance between green waste and dry waste, making sure there’s more organic waste in the mix so you can get a rich texture for your compost.
Don’t add fish, meat, bones, or dairy to the heap as they won’t give the right amount of nutrients and can attract unwanted pests, such as rats. While you can buy a compost bin, you can also get creative by building your own compost bin in a style and shape that suits your garden. Most like to use wood or pallets for making their bins, but some even make use of cinder or willow.
Creating A Space For Birds
If you want to attract birds, try placing a couple of bird feeders in your backyard. Select a bird feeder that matches the style of your garden. Consider looking for or building a bird feeder with a more unique design other than wire mesh seed feeders. A charming birdhouse can also provide a place for birds to nest and raise their families safely. Aside from a birdhouse, you can also try placing a climber decorated with evergreen plants for birds and insects to make their home in.
A birdbath placed among the plants can make your garden look classy while giving birds a spot where they can peacefully wash themselves. Meanwhile, a pond can bring some life and color to your garden while inviting frogs and insects, and it can also double as a source of water for birds. You can surround it with plants or wildflowers to make it look more natural, but avoid building it under trees since the leaves that fall out of them can turn the pond murky.
Building Homes For Other Wildlife Garden
Other than birdhouses, you can also build a shelter for hedgehogs to stay in which can be beneficial to them, especially for hibernation in winter. You can leave out dried fruit or cooked vegetables for them to feed on overnight, and leave a gap or hole in your garden’s fence or boundaries to allow hedgehogs to roam and enter freely. If you’d also like bees to stay in your garden, then you can welcome them with a bee house or hotel that you can fill with fruits, dried grass, pine cones, bamboo cuts, and other natural fillers.
You can even build a water station for bees to drink from, just make sure to put marbles or pebbles for them to stand on as bees can’t swim. With a clay pot or flowerpot (even a broken one can do), you can create a home for toads by tipping it to lay on the side, then burying the bottom half into the soil. Toads also need water so it helps to have a water source like a saucer or pond nearby their houses. If you’d like to get a little creative, you can even decorate the toad house by painting the pot with colorful designs.
Arranging Pots And Containers
Pots and containers can come in handy for decorating, especially for those with smaller garden spaces. You can put a variety of flowers and plants in containers of different shapes and sizes, and arrange them in various formations. Even wooden boxes or crates can be useful for holding any plants or flowers, and when the wood eventually starts to rot it can be a good place for insects to stay in.
Hanging baskets filled with colorful flowers or plants are also a popular decoration for gardens, and some birds even like to use them as their nest. You can also fill a container with water and decorate it with some plants to create a “mini pond” for frogs and birds to enjoy if you don’t have the space for an actual pond.
Adding Greenery To Your Roof
You can bring some life and nature to your rooftop by transforming it into a green roof. Green roofs have the benefit of being able to reduce the load on the sewage system by absorbing rainwater and protecting the roof itself from the elements. It can also make it last longer while also providing shelter for wildlife. Green roofs are commonly used for sheds, but it’s also possible to convert your patio cover.
They can also be placed on storage units and bins or added to birdhouses as a lovely design. There are different types of green roofs, so you can opt for either a simple, low-maintenance green roof or a more elaborate roof that holds more plants. As changing your roof into a green roof will put some extra weight to it, it’s important to make sure that your roof will be able to support the additional weight, so check to see if you’ll need to reinforce it.
Growing a wildlife garden takes some time and investment, so don’t be too discouraged if it takes a while for animals or insects to appear. Your wildlife garden will gradually develop as more creatures come to discover and inhabit it. Though it may not seem much, transforming your simple yard can aid nature by providing shelter and resources that some wildlife species are dependent on. With a wildlife garden, you can create a safe location where various creatures can thrive.