Having a garden gives you a daily opportunity to see and learn about the wildlife that is living around your doorstep. There are things you can do to increase the amount of visitors your garden gets and here are a few tips:
Plant a tree or shrub
Having a tree or shrub in your garden is an easy way to encourage wildlife. Crab apples, hazels and willows are ideal for even the smallest gardens and will become home to insects, which will in turn attract birds and small mammals. Strategically place your tree or shrub where it will get light without overshadowing neighbours gardens.
Hang a bird feeder
Bird feeders can encourage all kinds of feathered friends to flock to your garden. However, you will need to be careful of squirrels that can climb down the wire and steal the food. A squirrel baffle is recommended for these bird feeders – a protector that looks like a lampshade and stops squirrels climbing down the wire. Dried fruit makes for an excellent natural bird food, but make sure if you have a dog that these fruits aren’t in reach – vine fruits such as currants and raisins can be toxic to dogs.
Build a pond
A pond is a sure fire way to attract wildlife including frogs and toads, as well as a place to keep your own fish. A well-maintained pond can require significant upkeep including purchasing things like filters, fish food and pumps. Companies like Swell stock a huge selection of pond supplies. You can dig out and build a pond yourself but beware they may attract some unwanted visitors such as birds (which could eat your fish), so ensure that there are lilies or aquatic sculptures that your fish can hide beneath to avoid them getting snapped up.
Opt for specific plants
The type of plant you choose can have an effect on the types of creatures that come to your garden. Shrubs and perennials with berries and seeds are great for attracting birds. Lavender meanwhile can help attract bees, whilst buddleia will attract butterflies. For attracting small mammals, make sure that when your plants die, you don’t chuck all the compost in a compost bin. A wood pile or compost heap is great for attracting small rodents and hedgehogs.
Be careful with pesticides
Chemical pesticides may protect your shrubs from getting eaten up by slugs and snails, but they may also be warding off other creatures to your garden. The decline in the bee population has been largely attributed to chemical pesticides. Some birds meanwhile can be warded off by pesticides too. Keep your friendly garden wildlife by opting for natural pesticide methods. These could include beer traps and salt-sprays, which will affect slugs and snails but not other bugs. Similarly, you should make sure weed-killer isn’t chemical based – boiling water or vinegar can make a natural substitute.