How to make your garden wildlife friendly

ButterflyA good wildlife garden is more than just a corner of a garden left to go wild. Whether you are creating a new wildlife garden, or have an established one, think of it as a natural habitat and you are the nature warden. Here are our top 10 tips for a wildlife friendly garden.

1. Plant lots of insect friendly flowers

Flowers provide pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other insects all year round. Many garden plants are as good for wildlife as wild flowers are. Flowers such as Buddleja and Lavender are particularly loved by butterflies and bees.

2. Plant tree, shrubs and hedges

These give food and shelter to wildlife. Good small trees for blossom and berries include rowan, crab apple and hawthorn. Ivy provides shelter for nesting birds, plus autumn flowers for nectar, and winter berries for birds and small mammals; moths love honeysuckle

3. Build a pondbee

Ponds are a real boost to gardens, being a watering hole for land-living animals as well as a complete habitat for others. They can be easy and cheap to construct, and even small ones are better than none at all!

4. Create a dead wood pile

A dead wood pile will become home to a number of different species, who may use it for shelter or for feeding. Frogs, small mammals and insects will all benefit from this addition to your garden.

5. Compost


Turning your garden and kitchen waster into a compost heap is not only a great way to recycle these materials into the nutrients your plants need, but can also provide a miniature, frost free wildlife refuge.

6. Bin the chemicals

Pesticides and herbicides are very good at killing the bad guys, but unfortunately they also kill the good guys. Reduction in the number of insects and bugs in your garden can have a detrimental effect on frogs through to hedgehogs. Why not try to encourage natural predators into your gardens instead, such as ladybirds which love aphids.

7. Grow your own

Herbs are loved by a number of insect species, and you can use them too! Rosemary, Chives, Thyme and Lavender are all bee friendly.

8. Provide food and water
Providing a mix of food such as peanuts, seeds, kitchen scraps and fat balls, plus natural food such as berries and seed-heads, will attract a wide range of birds. Food for hedgehogs can also be left out, but remember not to feed them milk as they are lactose intolerant. Cat and dog food, along with dried fruit and peanuts makes a brilliant hedgehog dinner. Water left out during periods of heat and extreme cold can be life saving.
9. Build a house….

For one of the your garden friends. Bird boxes, bat boxes, lacewing hotels, bee nesting boxes and toad homes are all easy to make and offer an extra sheltering area.  Photo credit to Paul Rigby.

10. Go wild!

Don’t feel that you have to be too tidy. Leave some areas undisturbed, especially between March and May. Piles of leaves and twiggy debris in a hedge bottom, or out-of-the-way corner, will shelter frogs, mice and hedgehogs, and the seeds in dead flower heads can be valuable food. Let a patch of grass grow longer, as this encourages wild flowers, provides shelter for small mammals and food for some butterfly caterpillars

The following websites contain information on how to make your garden wildlife friendly. 

Please note, we do not take any responsibility for the content of these web sites:

Contact us

For further advice and information on how you can help wildlife in Redbridge, please contact the Nature Conservation Ranger Team

Related pages and documents

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