10 Tips to Attract Wildlife to your Garden

Is your garden teeming with wildlife or a sculptured vision devoid of life?

Whether you live in ten acre plot, a town house or even a flat, there are ways to attract wildlife to your garden.

Even a window box in a flat or pots on a balcony can attract wildlife if you choose the right plants and avoid chemicals.

I have provided links for building your own wildlife attracting equipment but most items can be purchased relatively cheaply from garden centres or websites.

Here are 10 top tips for attracting wildlife to your garden:

1. Compost Heap

Every wildlife garden needs a compost heap, it provides food and shelter for numerous species. Be very careful when you turn the compost, you don’t want to harm the wildlife. Garden organic has an excellent step by step guide to creating a compost heap including what to include in a good compost heap.

2. Wood Pile

So simple anyone can make a wood pile, simply find an area in your garden (try to build it where the sun will reach one side during the day) and then leave them to rot. Just find fallen or cut tree branches or stumps and pile them up, then leave it undisturbed for as long as your garden exists.

3. Build a Rockery

Frogs and newts, among other species, will find gaps in natural rocks and take up residence. If you have a pond create a rockery nearby, this can be filled with plants to look attractive but by using rocks instead of bricks you provide shelter for wildlife. You can use dry stone walling or simply pile some old rocks in a corner of your garden, after a couple of years they will have weathered and will look natural.

4. Provide Water

If your garden has room then build a wildlife pond, it doesn’t have to be big enough to swim in, just somewhere for wildlife to inhabit but please remember that many animals drown if they cannot get out of the pond so build in some ramps for wildlife to exit the pond. If you don’t have room for a pond then provide some source of water, a birdbath at ground level or simply placing old household objects that can collect rainwater in your garden.

5. Bird and Bat Nest Boxes

Bird boxes provide a secure environment for birds to nest, you will be most successful in attracting wild birds if your garden provides good sources of natural food. Cornwall Wildlife Trust provides a number of plans for building bird nesting boxes, remember that different bird species require different types of boxes and have different predators. Don’t forget our fabulous bats, here are plans for building a bat box which can be located on buildings as well as in your garden.

6. Bird Feeding Tables

Bird tables are an important source of food for birds in the winter. The RSPB provide information on , purchasing one and what to feed wild birds.

7. Hedgerows

Dense hedges provide food, shelter and safe passage to wildlife. To encourage wildlife in your hedges you need to plant and care for your hedges, this ensures the best environment for wildlife.

8. Nectar Rich Flowers

Your choice of garden flowers can mean the difference between attracting butterflies and bees or simply having something pretty to look at. Here are some nectar rich flower varieties to get you started.

9. Avoid Chemicals

We all get pests in our gardens and there are some excellent chemical sprays to rid your garden of certain pests but you may also rid yourself of friendly species. Here is a website dedicated to organic pest control and they include advice for greenhouses and conservatories.

10. Watch from a Distance

It is so tempting, particularly when there are young, to get a closer look but disturbing wildlife will simply chase it away. If you have provided nest boxes do not be tempted to lift the top for a quick peek. Invest in a pair or binoculars or a zoom camera lens and wait for the young to start emerging.

A handy website to bookmark is UK Safari and they have a fantastic photography section.

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8 Responses to “10 Tips to Attract Wildlife to your Garden”

  1. olly from glass verandas (5 comments.) Says:

    Some top tips here for enjoying the wildlife in your garden.

    As long as you keep to the rules, wildlife can be found in any sized garden for you to enjoy!

  2. from live.co.uk' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>john smith (1 comments.) Says:

    i get cats in my small garden and they come under the fence but so do the foxes so can any1 help with advice.i also seen the cats on top of the fence whare the birds sit.again any suggestions and i have hung uo a bird box dose it have to be stuck stable as this 1 has string and a tightner.thanks.

  3. Sally Says:

    Hi John. First of all your bird box is fine if it is not stable, birds will happily hang on to eat.

    There are a number of ways you can make your garden unattractive to cats. Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell so to keep them away you need to make yo0ur garden smell very unpleasant to cats.

    Plant lavender, it will smell lovely to you but awful for them. Use cayenne or chilli pepper sprinkled around the bottom and top of your fence (put on the top of fence posts if you have them, as cats use those for stability). You can buy cat repellent from most garden centres, again just sprinkle it around and this may help with the fox problem too. Buy some urinal blocks (you know the smelly toilet blocks they use in men’s urinals) your local pub will probably sell you some, crush them up and spread them around the base of the fence.

    Try one or two of those and see if they start to work, if not come back and we will try more drastic measures.

    As for foxes it is a little more difficult. First of all try to work out what is attracting them to your garden, it’s usually food or caged pets like rabbits or ferrets. They can also be attracted to the smell of food waste put on your compost heap. Do you have a wheelie bin or use bin bags? If you have a wheelie bin or old rubbish bin with lid then use an elastic bungee cord to keep the lid secure. Try to eliminate the possibilities one by one until you find out what it is that is attracting them, although once they are frequent visitors they are hard to deter but a disappearing food source will help.

    Once you eliminate food sources mark your territory just as they do, you need your garden to smell of large predators. You can use human or animal urine, although I wouldn’t suggest peeing in your garden during the afternoon, you may shock the neighbours. Locate where the foxes are entering your garden and sprinkle either male human urine (may I suggest using a bucket) or urine from a large male dog, this will mark the territory and should help to keep foxes away. If you live near to a zoo you could go and ask them for lion or tiger urine, they will be quite used to people asking for it for this purpose. Obviously don’t try this if you have small children that play in that area of the garden.

    The only other method is to buy chicken wire, dig under your fence about 2 feet and place the chicken wire in the hole. Fill in the hole and attach the wire to your existing fence. This has to be done around the whole perimiter of your fence, it’s not an easy job and can be costly in chicken wire but will stop them digging under your fence. Try to work out why they are visiting your garden, it is usually to find food or water. Do you leave bin bags out with nice smelling food in or dog/cat food in?

    Let me know how you get on.

  4. olly from Glass Verandas (23 comments.) Says:

    Sally – that is some good advice. Cats can be extremely persistent when they want to be. It is almost impossible to keep them out of your garden. All you really can do is make it as difficult as possible to hopefully put them off!

  5. Sally Says:

    Unfortunately cats and foxes haven’t got the hang of property borders yet, they still work on the I’m bigger than you so this is my territory theory. As you say Olly it’s just a case of making your garden as unattractive as possible to them.

  6. Luc from Clever Products (1 comments.) Says:

    Cats can be annoying, but most live nearby. If you can backtrack where they’re from, you might ask their owner to attach a small bell to them, warning off the birds when they visit your garden.

    Luc’s last blog post..Handpresso Wild Portable Espresso Maker

  7. Sally Says:

    Yes the simple solutions are often the best … silly me not thinking of it woops.

  8. Michelle (1 comments.) Says:

    A great post! I had never considered that compost piles were a great source to attract wildlife to your garden (other than stray dogs), and now you’ve got me thinking about it… thanks!
    Michelle´s last blog ..Best Compost Bin Models for Small Spaces My ComLuv Profile

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