By Monty George, co-founder of online furniture store, Furniturebox
Even the most modest of gardens can become an outdoor metropolis where wildlife can thrive. Small changes can open up a window for you to observe and enjoy what nature creates.
The key to attracting wildlife is to provide food and shelter so your garden becomes a sanctuary where all animals — from swooping birds to the tiniest of critters — can prosper in harmony. This entails creating a biodiverse plot that doesn’t compromise the way your garden looks. After all, sharing your garden with hundreds of natives species creates the ultimate tranquil experience.
With many natural habitats being destroyed, seeing more wildlife in our gardens is to be expected, but there is a lot you can do to lend a helping hand. In this article we explore the following tips for attracting wildlife into your garden:
- Provide a water source
- Let your garden grow wild
- Blend outdoor furniture into the environment
- Teach yourself to garden more sustainably
Read on as we transform your garden into a natural home for nature and all its benefits.
Provide a water source
Creating a readily available water source in your garden could provide a lifeline for local wildlife, particularly during the summer months where the days are more arid and normal watering spots might have dried in the sun.
The scale and expense of your water source needn’t matter. People with small gardens can squeeze in a dish that can supply ample drinking and bathing water for birds and mammals; others with more space might see this as an opportunity to fit a pond, which creates a whole new biome for frogs, newts, and many more water-bound creatures to live and breed.
However, providing a water source isn’t simply a case of buying it and leaving it to fester. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, you have to maintain water quality throughout the year to help sustain the wildlife that makes use of it.
Here are some key water source maintenance tips for attracting wildlife in your garden:
- Keep it clean
- Regularly top up with fresh water
- Place near trees and shrubbery
The latter tip is so wildlife can easily approach from and escape to safe cover. With this in mind, it’s also a good idea to build some form of ramp leading out of the water source so animals like mice can’t get stuck.
Blend outdoor furniture into your garden
Your garden — though part wildlife sanctuary — is also a place for you to sit and relax. With this in mind, we next lean into the idea of making your garden appealing, not just to surrounding species, but also to yourself.
Bringing the indoors outside is fashionable right now, especially as we approach the pique summer months — and according to Furniturebox (a leading home design website) creating a comfortable outdoor seating area is top of people’s minds when it comes to garden furniture ideas.
On the face of things, this is something you should avoid if you’re looking to attract wildlife into your garden. After all, outdoor furniture stands out like a sore thumb, contrasting with a species’ natural habitat. On the other hand, you also need a space of your own that allows you to enjoy the outdoor metropolis you’ve helped create.
The solution? Find a sense of harmony by using organic, natural paints (like these) to blend outdoor furniture with the natural color of your garden. Also, use a wooden gazebo structure or frame to disguise your seating area with hanging pots and climbing plants. This helps establish a more seamless balance between human comfortability and surrounding nature.
Noise is another factor to consider. While you can disguise garden furniture to blend into the garden, the noise you create during outdoor gatherings can ring a little too loud, easily scaring away wildlife. Remember to be aware of your surroundings. After all, you never know who you might be disturbing.
Let your shrubbery grow wild
Sometimes the beauty of nature is its wild unpredictability. Creating an attractive environment for wildlife is about letting go and leaving your shrubbery (and other plants) to their own devices.
While we don’t mean you should allow your garden to grow into an unwieldy jungle, you should, however, allow borders and corners of your garden to develop a little more naturally. This will of course be thanked no end by the surrounding wildlife.
But what plants and garden shrubs provide the best habitat for wildlife? Highlighted by The Sunday Gardener, here is a quick list of wildlife-friendly plants to fill your borders:
- Russian Sage
These plants are a fantastic source of nectar for bees and butterflies, but you should also consider letting your lawn go a little wild to help support ground faring insects too. Overly treated grass deters wildlife — so mow less often or designate a patch to leave uncut.
Above all else, avoid treating plants of any kind with chemicals, but more on this next…
Teach yourself to garden more sustainably
Keeping things natural is a key theme of this article. Why? Because attracting wildlife is about minimizing your influence on the garden — and this extends to the way you maintain your newly established habitat.
Teach yourself to garden more sustainably by:
- Avoiding peat extraction and create your own using composters
- Using water butts to collect rainwater and use the tap less
- Planting only native plants and don’t use chemical fertilizers
- Saying no to pesticides and use non-toxic alternatives
- Choosing long-lasting garden furniture and upscale instead of buying new
We have an impact on wildlife that goes well beyond the parameters of our gardens. From choosing materials to teasing plant growth, it’s important we approach gardening in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way.
Attracting wildlife into your garden is easier than you might think. From providing a source of water and letting plants grow wild to disguising outdoor furniture. Keep things natural and sustainable and soon you’ll have a metropolis brimming with wildlife of all shapes and sizes.