Five Top Tips on Creating a Wildlife-Friendly Garden
It’s a startling fact that 95% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been lost since the Second World War, leaving much of our rare flora and fauna struggling to survive.
However, there is something we can do. At Compass Landscape and Garden Design, the providers of quality planting design services in Somerset and south-west England, we’ve seen that creating wildlife-friendly areas in our back gardens can provide a much-needed lifeline. If you’d like to help your local ecosystem, follow these five important steps.
Feed the Birds
Our feathered friends are an essential part of any garden’s ecosystem, but the modern landscape does not always provide enough wild food to support them. Feeding them helps to ensure their survival when food sources are low or they are feeding their young. Leave out seeds in the winter and protein-rich fat balls in the spring. Just place them away from cats – near a dense, spiky bush or high up. Be prepared to deter other unwanted pests too. Feeders are available with spring-loaded covers that shut for large birds or squirrels.
Choose Your Plants Carefully
Help wild bees, butterflies and other pollinators by planting pollinator-friendly plants over traditional choices – marigolds, violets and sunflowers are more beneficial than roses, tulips and daffodils. Meanwhile, climbers, such as clematis and honeysuckle, provide nectar for pollinators as well as nesting shelter for birds. However, you’ll need to check the plants you choose suit your soil and intended position.
Remember too that a weed is just a plant growing in the wrong place! Buttercups, daisies and nettles are a valuable source of nutrition for butterflies, moths and other insects – so be prepared to let the grass and some weeds grow.
Create a Compost Heap
Homemade compost enriches your soil naturally and compost heaps provide a home for woodlice, worms and other insect species. You may attract frogs, toads, slow-worms and even grass snakes. Making compost from potato peelings and food waste, instead of throwing it in the bin, is also much better for the environment, helping to reduce methane emissions at landfills.
Leaving some piles of dead wood in a shady area near your compost heap will also help wildlife, encouraging fungi, millipedes and woodlice.
A pond provides a home for amphibious creatures like frogs and newts, who can help to keep undesirable flies away. Ensure you have sloping sides rather than vertical walls plus branches in strategic places so creatures can get in and out easily. Avoid putting it in full sun or shade and, to help prevent it becoming stagnant, plant some water lilies.
It doesn’t have to be big. In fact, a large bird bath can perform a similar function with no risk of children falling in.
Build a Rockery
A rockery can act as home to a wide variety of insects, who in turn will attract birds and mammals that feed on them. A wide variety of plant species can flourish in a rockery, and they are great space-saving way to create an interest point with plants on more than one level.
Compass Garden Design
If you’d like help to set up a wildlife-friendly and sustainable garden, either as a complete entity or zone within a larger garden, contact Compass Garden and Landscape Design. We operate in Somerset, Wiltshire and many other locations in south-west England and into Wales.
We offer a plant consultancy service, so can identify which sustainable species will work in your garden, taking into account factors like sun and soil. We can then provide everything from small annuals to mature trees.
After our initial meeting, we’ll conduct a full survey and create the first sketches. These will be followed by detailed designs, which will include specific features, such as ponds and rockeries, before our network of tried and trusted local partners gets to work.
If you would like to know more, you can reach us by following this link or calling us on 01225 949581.