15 ideas to make your garden more nature friendly
Why your garden matters:
1. 2.5% of the UK’s landmass is classed as ‘urban green’ (Gardens, parks, sports fields etc)
2. The UK has 24 million gardens.
3. Over a 30-yr period, Jennifer Owen recorded 2,673 wild species in her 741m2 garden (her garden is displayed in the top left photo): 474 plants, 1,997 insects and 138 other invertebrates. Her findings included 11% of all native UK plants!
4. Worldwide 87% of all wetlands, bogs and fens have been destroyed by humans and more than 50% of natural pond and lake habitats, making garden ponds an increasingly important refuge for nature.
15 Ideas To Make Your Garden More Wildlife Friendly:
1. Have a ‘wild grass corner’. Many species of insect require long grass, when we cut all of the grass, we essentially remove homes!
2. Create a pond. Ponds are not only attractive, but amazingly bio-diverse habitats and will also provide drinking water for animals in your garden. Be sure to put in some research before making a pond, as ponds are also delicate eco-systems. Raw tap water for example is not good for a pond.
3. Consider having just native plants in the garden. There are so many beautiful native plants and they're generally far better for nature.
4. Don’t cut back dead plants until spring, as that’s where insects hibernate! A lot of people cut back all of the dead foliage before winter kicks in, but that doesn't help our insect friends!
5. Have a couple of gaps under your walls/fences, so that animals can travel in and out of your garden. If every garden has a solid wall then a lot of animals won't be able to benefit, as they won't be able to get into our gardens!
6. Refrain from using pesticides and herbicides of any kind. They might get rid of the pests eating your beloved roses, but they also destroy the animals eating those pests!
7. When you cut wood from your trees etc, consider leaving a pile somewhere for insects, hibernating hedgehogs etc
8. Consider a 'meadow roof'. One of the more extreme options, but turning your roof space into a flowering meadow, essentially means that your house isn't taking up any of natures space!
9. Plant ‘super plants’. Do your research on which plants support the most native species in your area and plant them. In the UK, the oak tree has been recorded to support more species than any other plant (423 species of insect alone compared to the non-native rhododendrons 0)
10. Why not treat yourself to a native fruit and nut garden? Wild cherries, crab apples, hazelnuts, elderflowers, raspberries etc. Good for nature and good for you!
11. Minimize any concrete areas. Concrete slab patios might be practical to us, but are essentially wastelands for wildlife.
12. Certain types of non-native plant species like rhododendron are particularly damaging to wildlife, consider removing them.
13. To help pollinating insects, consider planning the garden to have flowers blooming for as much of the year as possible.
14. Put up a bird nesting box, or a bat roosting box. Both bats and birds have lost a lot of their natural habitat and with it, suitable roosting/nesting sites.
15. Make a nature balcony. If you don't have a garden, you can still help by converting your balcony, or even windowsills into nature havens.