Whether you have a great big lawn, a small courtyard garden or even just a windowsill, there are things you can do to attract wildlife into your garden. Not only will little ones love seeing new curious creatures paying a visit, birds and insects are an important part of your garden’s ecosystem, helping to keep the food chain balanced and also to aid pollination. Read on for some easy ideas on how to attract wildlife into your garden.
Choose the right flowers
If you want to attract wildlife to your garden, you’ll need to tempt them with pollen and nectar. If you have limited space, avoid double-flowers like carnations which actually contain little to no pollen and nectar. Instead, choose plants that contain higher amounts and try to pick species that flower at different times so there’s constantly something in bloom. Consider crocus or mahonia in spring and verbena or foxglove in summer.
You don’t have to have a pond to coax water dwellers to your garden. All you need is a large, shallow container without draining holes filled with water, along with a few water and marginal plants and rocks to create different levels in and out of the water. It’s also a good idea to include some oxygenating plants to help keep algae at bay. Leave it in a shady spot and wait for insects and birds to stop by – you might even get the odd frog!
A well-manicured garden leaves little room for wildlife, so try and let things grow a little wilder – it will make your life easier too! Native wildflowers are really simple to grow and look beautiful, providing a riot of colour come spring and summer, and more importantly, ample opportunity for pollinators to visit, and in turn food for birds. You can pick up wildflower seed mixes from the garden centre that can simply be scattered over your lawn. Don’t be too precious about ‘weeds’ either; leave buttercups and daisies uncut, even if it’s just a small patch of your garden.
One of the easiest ways to attract animals to your garden is by providing a source of food for an easy meal. A simple option is to hang birdfeeders which will attract common garden birds. Keep in mind that certain breeds prefer specific foods, for example robins love cheese and mealworms, blue tits are partial to unsalted peanuts and blackbirds like tinned dog food! If you’d like to tempt badgers and hedgehogs, leave out some wet cat food.
Make your own compost
A compost heap not only provides you with free, nutrient-rich soil which hasn’t travelled any miles to get to you, it also offers an extremely rich habitat for wildlife. It will attract a plethora of small insects and worms and slugs, and if you’re lucky, you might even attract reptiles such as slow-worms and grass snakes!