The idea of attracting wildlife to your garden has mixed views from a gardener’s perspective. You’ve dedicated time, energy, and finances committed to creating your perfect garden. So why would you want to encourage wild visitors?
Well, not all wildlife is destructive and harmful to your garden. Attracting wildlife to your garden can offer several benefits:
- Wildlife includes natural predators which will naturally help to remove garden pests by eating them such as slugs and snails.
- Many wild insects and birds are pollinators. Whilst you provide food for them through nectar-rich flowers, they, in turn, support your garden to flourish by helping your plants fertilize.
- Wildlife such as deer and rabbits will graze on grass, helping to maintain your garden including weeds. This saves you time and money.
Here’s how you can attract wildlife to your garden:
Trees and Shrubs
Planting native trees and shrubs in your garden can help attract local wildlife in a number of ways.
For birds and squirrels especially, these plants can provide shelter from cold, wet, or windy weather. Not to mention protection from larger predators such as foxes or birds of prey.
Many animals use these plants to create their homes in amongst the dense branches or even inside tree trunks
The shrubs and trees also provide a supply of food for wildlife including leaves, flowers, and a range of berries.
Planting trees and shrubs helps strengthen whole food chains with a supply of food and can make a huge difference in wildlife numbers not just in your immediate garden, but the local ecosystem.
Including flowers in the design of your garden is extremely beneficial for attracting wildlife. So many species from bees to deer rely on flowers to survive.
Flowers are especially important for local pollinators. They are a vital food source for pollinators’ survival. Not to mention by encouraging pollinators to visit your garden, they in turn help fertilize your plants by spreading pollen.
Pollinators and other wildlife eat the nectar from flowers and mostly consume this food source during Spring and Summer.
To help attract wildlife to your garden, be sure to plant a range of nectar-rich flowers during these months and choose flowers that have different blooming seasons. This helps to provide a consistent supply of nectar throughout the spring and summer months.
Even better, try to select nectar-rich plants that specifically support the wildlife local to you.
Now I know this point goes against a gardener’s instinct, but hear me out. If you want to know how to attract wildlife to your garden, it is beneficial to leave an area of your garden to grow naturally, weeds and all!
This area doesn’t have to be large or be the centerpiece of your garden. But if you have an area available in your garden where the weeds and grass can grow naturally, it can help local wildlife such as hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals which means they only come out at night. During the day, they need a safe space to rest and shelter without fear from predators.
So why should you provide an overgrown area for them?
Well, hedgehogs, contrary to belief, do benefit your garden. They primarily feed on invertebrates such as slugs, caterpillars, and beetles, which all gorge on your precious flowers and crops.
Consider providing a safe space for hedgehogs in your garden, and in return, hedgehogs will provide you with a natural solution to unwanted bugs.
Every animal needs access to freshwater, but in the wild, drinkable water can be scarce.
Consider supplying fresh water in your garden for wildlife such as a bird or butterfly pool.
This freshwater won’t just attract birds or butterflies, but other animals such as squirrels, foxes, or even badgers if the supply is low enough to the ground.
In the summer, it can be very hot for wildlife and so they require a water supply for bathing to cool down as well as drinking. However, in the winter, other water supplies can become frozen and so the water in your garden can be a vital lifeline for wildlife to survive during colder months.
Remember to change the water frequently. If it is left for long periods, the water will become stagnant and attract pests.
On top of providing fresh water for wildlife to drink and bathe in, a pond may be another option if you have a larger outdoor space.
Ponds are brilliant for attracting wildlife to gardens. They create a home for a wide range of insects and amphibians.
By adding a pond you will encourage frogs to breed in your garden. You can then expect them to return every year to your pond as frogs return to the place they were born to breed.
A pond can guarantee wildlife visiting your garden for years to come.
Even though wildlife can gain food from flowers, trees, and shrubs, usually this is seasonal and not a year-long supply.
Adding a feeder to your garden will help encourage wildlife to visit, whilst also supporting their survival particularly through the winter months.
During the winter, non-migratory birds especially struggle due to the lack of food. A feeder can be an important source of food for them and can include a mix of nuts and seeds.
Alternatively, consider adding a pollinator feeder to your garden. Butterflies especially require additional support during the summer months if flowers do not have a good supply of nectar.
Place a few pieces of chopped fruit on a butterfly feeder for them to drink the juices and provide them with essential energy.
Not all bugs are bad for your garden. Many bugs are beneficial by:
- feeding on smaller pests
- helping to improve drainage in your soil
- Or pollinating crops.
Bug hotels come in a range of shapes and sizes with each helping to create a safe home or resting place for insects.
You can either buy a bug hotel that is pre-designed and often for specific insects e.g. a bee hotel, butterfly hotel, or hedgehog home.
Alternatively, for a DIY approach, you can place different-sized logs in a pile within a shaded area of your garden.
These 7 ideas can help you to attract wildlife to your garden. You do not have to incorporate every tip to successfully attract wildlife.
Consider the wildlife you would like in your garden, which your garden would benefit from, and how you can support that specific wildlife. Then you will be able to create a haven with shelter, food, and a supply of fresh water for local wildlife in your area.
Don’t forget to take a look at some of our other popular posts on supporting local species with your garden: