Post pandemic, we all seem to have found a greater appreciation for our gardens, as a place to work, rest and play.
We all want to create a space that is both functional to use and beautiful to spend time in. And trust us, sitting at our Garden Furniture is best done when our gardens are teeming with life, from bees to bird song.
Encouraging biodiversity is something we should all be mindful of, and by inviting birds, small mammals and insects into our outdoor spaces, it will in fact help them to thrive.
This is a subject we touched on in our recent garden trends for the summer 2022 article. Number 14 in our list was ‘encouraging wildlife’ and we stated that:
We're talking a lot about how the garden should be an extension of your home, a multi-purpose space, but it is important that we don't forget it's a garden. At Lazy Susan we think it is important that, yes you should be able to sit in and use your garden, but it should also create a connection with the natural world too. And anything we can do to encourage wildlife into our gardens should be high on our to-do lists.
Leading garden designers are also looking at innovative ways that their plots can better attract birds and insects by incorporating greater native flowering plants, wildflowers, bird feeders and water features, etc.
In fact, the theme for next month's RHS Chelsea Flower Show from 24th to 28th May 2022 is ‘wild’, with organisers promising:
Gardens teeming with native plants that benefit wildlife will take centre stage, so expect to see blossoming hedgerows, lush woodland and wildflower meadows which will give the 2022 show its most naturalistic feel in recent years.
While their recent video below with Lee Connelly, has some great tips to attract hedgehogs and other wild animals into your garden:
The important thing to stress is that to increase biodiversity does not mean that we have to turn our gardens into a wild overgrown jungle.
A well-designed garden, no matter how small, can provide a home to nature and still look fab. It doesn't have to be hard work or a compromise on style.
A few simple changes can make a world of difference to the wildlife that can call it home.
Lazy Susan’s top 10 tips for attracting wildlife into your garden
1. Plant Wildflowers
By planting a few native wildflowers into a small area of your garden you will provide more food for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
It gives them food from leaves, pollen, nectar, shelter and a place to breed, and unlike many of the popular 'cultivated' garden plants, wildflowers will produce nectar.
The more wildflowers you plant, the greater the impact will be. Pollinators will transfer pollen, enabling the wildflowers to develop seeds and produce even more flowers.
They can also help to greatly improve soil health, prevent erosion, improve drainage, and add all-year-round interest to your garden.
The 20 British native wildflowers to grow by Gardeners World lists some beautiful flowers but, most importantly, they selected them because they're popular plants for bees and butterflies!
2. Plant Trees, Shrubs & Climbers
Planting trees, shrubs and climbers in your garden has numerous benefits from providing shade, reducing noise, preventing flooding, removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen.
Gardens with trees, shrubs and climbers are much more attractive to wildlife as they provide wildlife with habitation and food. A wide range of birds and small animals such as squirrels rely on the leaves, fruits and roots of trees to survive.
If you want to know what trees to plant, then the RSPB’s Best Trees for Birds & Wildlife article is a great place to start.
3. Add A Bird Box
Why not take it a step further and add a bird box? They provide a safe, warm and dry place for smaller birds to nest.
During the colder months, they’ll also give them a place to shelter together for warmth away from the cold and rain.
The species of birds you can attract will very much depend on where you hang the bird box, the type of box you buy (or build), and the size of the entrance.
If you want to encourage a specific type of bird into your garden, then the British Trust for Ornithology’s Essential Guide to Nest Boxes has all the info you need.
4. Add A Feeder
A feeder is another way to attract wildlife by supplying them with a source of food and water.
The types of wildlife a feeder will attract will very much depend upon its placement and the kinds of food you put in it, as different species have different preferences.
The obvious feeder is a bird but you can also use them to attract animals such as hedgehogs and squirrels.
According to an ongoing UK study looking at the growth of bird populations in the past 40 years, Kate Plummer of the British Trust for Ornithology stated that:
We know that feeding happens on a huge scale in the UK, US, Australia and parts of Europe. We are trying to understand what the impacts of that might be. There are about 68 or so species that have always used feeders. They used them in the 70s and they use them now. But actually, within our own gardens, we are seeing a greater number of species. It does suggest that through the use of garden bird food we can have a positive influence on populations.
5. Let The Grass Grow
This is a tricky one... We all love a freshly manicured lawn. However, letting it grow is not only better for the grass, it is great for attracting wildlife into your garden.
If left un-mown, our lawns will produce flowers and seeds which are important for many animals, including insects and birds.
Longer grass will help to hold heat and moisture in the soil, which provides better habitat for insect larvae and other soil invertebrates, such as caterpillars, craneflies, and sawflies.
Research by the Plantlife conservation charity identified that:
Lawns that have not been mown for a year hosted an average of three pollinators per square metre, compared to 1.9 pollinators on patches of grass that had been cut in the past week. Meanwhile, lawns cut a month ago had 2.4 per square metre.
To try and encourage change, Plantlife launched their No Mow May campaign to help our bees, butterflies, wildlife and us. On their website they say:
Plantlife’s No Mow May campaign doesn’t ask you to do much. In fact, it asks you to not do anything at all… Just lock up your lawnmower on May 1st and let the wildflowers in your lawn bloom, providing a feast of nectar for our hungry pollinators. #NoMowMay launches this year on 29 April 2022. Full details of the campaign, to be run in association with Lidl, including a wide range of new resources for download will be added regularly from this page over the next couple of weeks. Note that No Mow May has been trademarked this year for the first time.
You can find out more at plantlife.org.
6. Organic Gardening
Organic gardening not only helps preserve more natural habitats for wildlife but also encourages birds and other natural predators to assist in pest control.
So ditch the synthetic pesticide, insecticides and fertiliser.
Our philosophy at Lazy Susan is to try and only give to nature what you can take from nature.
Working with nature and reducing the number of chemicals released into the atmosphere and our waterways is the best way you can help wildlife and the planet to thrive.
If you want to switch to organic, then Good Housekeeping has some great tips in their how to start an organic garden in 9 easy steps article.
7. Add A Water Feature
A water feature is another that is great for wildlife but will only enhance your outdoor space. It will attract a whole range of wildlife and is another source of food and water.
It doesn’t even need to be a pond. A small contained bubbling fountain will attract all kinds of wildlife from frogs to birds.
Wildlife is attracted to water for many reasons, such as hydration, reproduction, bathing and cooling off on a hot day.
If you want to know more, the WWT’s 10 ways to add water to your garden that wildlife will love article has some great tips to get you started.
8. Build A Bug Hotel
A bug hotel is a great way to get the kids or grandkids involved in encouraging wildlife into your garden.
We looked at bug hotels last autumn in our build a bug hotel with the kids' article.
They’re a great way to provide a safe spot for wildlife to live, they help make use of garden waste, and a well-built one can provide shelter for everything from hedgehogs to ladybirds.
9. Add A Compost Heap
A compost heap is another that is better for the planet, good for your garden/soil and a great way to encourage wildlife.
It will provide refuge and a feeding area for everything from hedgehogs, beetles, toads, bats to birds, grass snakes, small mammals and worms.
Much of the wildlife attracted to compost will also eat insects and slugs and act as natural pest control, further reducing the need for pesticides and other chemicals in your garden.
Discover Wildlife have a great article that looks at how to make compost and attract wildlife to your garden.
10. Easy Access
It is always a good idea to leave a small gap in your fence so that wildlife such as hedgehogs, etc can easily pass through.
This is often referred to as a hedgehog highway, and as they'll often travel up to two kilometres a night, so linking your garden to your neighbours is a simple way you can help them get around and search for food and shelter.
The Wildlife Trust have a great guide that shows how to create a hedgehog hole.
If you want to see if our tips are working, then we would recommend that you purchase a wildlife camera such as the WiFi 20MP 1296P Wildlife Camera from Amazon (pictured above).
It features night vision, is motion-activated, has an IP66 waterproof rating and is easily connected via wifi to their app (scan QR codes above to download).
Much of our native wildlife is seeing a loss of their natural habitat, so anything we can do to help provide them with a space to live, drink or eat is a bonus in our book!