Share this page
Here are some simple ways to encourage wildlife in your own garden and give a little extra help to the animals that call it home which is particularly important during the winter months.
• Mix it up – if you are starting to plan your garden and what you will grow this year, think about including a wide mix of plants, shrubs and trees to benefit a wide range of wildlife. Trees and shrubs provide shelter and somewhere to build nests, and many plants offer flowers, fruits and seeds that are a source of food. Choose nectar-rich flowering plants to encourage bees and butterflies.
• Just add water – provide a water source for wildlife all year round, so that animals can have a drink. Creating a pond is one of the best ways to increase the wildlife in your garden. Add some aquatic plants and make sure there is a gently sloping side so small animals such as frogs and newts can get in and out. Resist the temptation to introduce fish that might eat the local wildlife but let the pond life colonise naturally. If you don’t want a pond, a water feature or even a container of water provides water for birds to drink.
• Dead wood – a pile of logs makes an excellent habitat for beetles and other bugs or shelter for hedgehogs. Better still leave it to rot and the decaying wood provides a habitat for types of fungus.
• Rock and roll – stones and rocks also provide a good form of shelter for animals including small mammals and amphibians. Create a rockery or use decent size rocks at the edge of a border leaving small gaps between them that animals can fit between.
• Compost heap – any serious gardener takes pride in their compost heap, but it is also a valuable source of food and shelter for wildlife. Even a novice gardener can make good use of their fruit and vegetable waste by starting a compost heap. Many insects and invertebrates will make it their home and it will make excellent organic matter to put on your garden.
• Feed me – garden birds are easy to attract if you put out a bird feeder and at this time of year in particular, that extra food can make the difference in their survival. Put out a mix of food from seeds to kitchen scraps and fat balls during the winter. Make sure feeders can’t be reached by cats or foxes.
• Go wild – don’t be too tidy in your garden, if you let the grass grow longer in some areas or the bushes a bit wilder, it gives more places for wildlife to shelter. Leaving some weeds, piles of dead leaves or twigs provide food and habitat for many species. Why not dedicate an area of your garden to becoming a wildflower meadow? Wildflower seed mixes are readily available and can look very attractive, while supporting a wide range of wildlife.
• Box it up – nesting sites can be at a premium especially in urban areas, so attaching a nesting box to the side of your house gives birds somewhere secure to hatch their young. Different boxes are suitable for different types of birds, but most commonly a small nest box with a hole will attract tits and sparrows. We have successfully introduced bird and bat boxes at many of our developments such as at Wickhurst Green, near Horsham, providing a valuable habitat for local wildlife.
Find out more about how Countryside encourages wildlife at its developments
Further tips for encouraging wildlife to your garden are available from the RHS
Here you’ll find property related blog articles from the team at Countryside as well as independent experts. Expect regular tips and advice on topics such as buying a new home, interior and landscape design, setting up home, mortgages and finance, plus articles on architecture, the property market, regeneration and more.