How To Encourage Wildlife In Your Garden | Contemporary Garden

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How To Encourage Wildlife In Your Garden

Two blue tits in a water bath, a water bath is one way to encourage wildlife in your garden

If you want to encourage wildlife in your garden, you will need to provide three things; food, water and shelter. By providing this combination of things, you'll encourage more wildlife to visit your garden and help improve the biodiversity in your neighbourhood. Today, we've provided some ideas to cover all three essential elements but check out the RSPB and Wildlife trust for further information from the experts.


Food for Wildlife

When it comes to providing food for wildlife, you may think of laying out birdseed or planting flowers for the bees, but there is so much more to it than that. When thinking about creating a food paradise for the animals, the best thing to focus on is the smallest creatures in your garden. The microscopic and tiny creatures that live in your soil are the building blocks for your whole garden so feeding the soil is essential for all others to survive. Here is a process that builds on the last block to create a better food chain for wildlife in your garden.

  1. Creating your own compost or using natural, peat-free composts and manures to boost the bugs in your soil and create more food sources for animals higher up the pecking order.
  2. Don't make the garden too tidy, leaving organic debris and some weeds in place will provide food for lesser-known animals.
  3. Plant with purpose and research which plants will work best in your garden and for the wildlife.
  4. Create food systems for larger animals such as bird and squirrel feeders. Just ensure that one animal does not come to dominate the environment, you may need to set up additional systems to stop some animals from gaining everything. For example, many bird feeders have squirrel proof features as they commonly will ransack a feeder of nuts before any birds have had a look in.


Water for Wildlife

Water is life and every garden should have at least one water source. While water may primarily be for drinking, it can also provide shelter for amphibians and fish or somewhere to get a wash like a birdbath. Here are a few options for providing water in your garden from the basic to the advanced.

  • A bowl or shallow plate of water. This will provide a water source for insects, birds and other small animals. You can place it higher up if it's birds you are wanting to attract or on the floor to encourage ground-dwelling creatures.
  • A birdbath. This can be used as both a drinking source and for birds to have a bath. Many birds have parasites like ticks and fleas which they need to wash out frequently. Having a birdbath can help keep them healthy, just ensure you change the water frequently and give it a good clean once a week.
  • A pond, big or small. If you have the money and interest to create a pond, we would highly encourage it. Ponds create great wildlife abundance in gardens and they encourage animals to visit frequently. If you don't have the ability to create a large pond, you can still use small tubs and buckets to create a mini pond for frogs, newts and more in your garden. The Wildlife Trust has a great article on how to create a mini pond.


Shelter For Wildlife

Animals need shelter to protect them from the elements and a place to breed. Shelter for every animal looks different but here are some easy ways to provide the protection many animals need in your garden.

  • Add bird and bat boxes to trees, buildings or your garden fence.
  • Create piles of logs, twigs, bricks, stones or other materials to create safe burrows for small mammals like hedgehogs or voles.
  • Make or buy a bug hotel.
  • Don't cut the grass too short, or purposely leave an area completely uncut. You'll be surprised how many animals live in an unmown lawn.
  • Build a pond. Ponds don't just provide a drinking or bathing source, many animals also live in the water or at the edges.
  • Keep established trees and hedges in place. Unless dangerous or causing property damage, keep as many bushes, shrubs and trees in your garden as you can. They provide countless habitats for all sorts of animals.


Garden Wildlife

We love our gardens and having more wildlife in them is just one glorious benefit of a beautiful garden. If you would like further inspiration on caring for your garden and the animals within it, check out our Contemporary Garden blog. We update it almost every week with new design inspiration, how-to guides and our favourite ways to improve your garden for you and your wildlife friends.