Get down and dirty in the garden
Making wildlife feel welcome in your garden is a sure way to encourage them to return time and time again. There are different things that you can do to attract certain species, but one thing that never changes with all types of wildlife is the fact that they are all attracted to the most basic essentials of survival. This includes water, shelter and food. Incorporating each of these into your garden design is likely to attract more varieties of wildlife, birds and beneficial insects.
1. Make a Pond
Ponds provide a great water source for all kinds of wild animals. Depending on the size of your garden, your pond should have access to as much sunlight as possible. Ponds tend to attract amphibians, such as toads, frogs and newts, but it can also attract dragonflies and insects. Make sure that the edges of your pond are shallow enough to allow easy access for smaller creatures, yet deep enough for them to swim around in. To provide a water source for birds to bathe in, add a sloping bath to your garden and keep the water clean to attract robins, swallows, house martins and more.
2. Become a Food Source
Animals are in constant search for food; it’s a basic survival instinct. When you make your garden a place where all sorts of species can access food, it will become a very popular resting and feeding place. Invest in some bird-friendly food—sunflower heart from Wild Bird Foods are perfect to attract feathered guests to your garden. They also enjoy oats and mealworms mixed with fruit and berries. You can sprinkle sunflower hearts on the ground or store them in a bird feeder for easier access. For larger animals, nuts and berries seem to be a popular choice. Squirrels especially love nuts, whilst rabbits will come and nibble on your lettuce if you let them.
3. Fertilize Naturally
Compost your garden waste to make healthy soil, create good mulch and form a great shelter for small creatures. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, leaving a pile of dead wood in the garden provides an “ever-rarer habitat to a range of specialist wildlife that is growing increasingly uncommon in the countryside.” They state that unpainted wood is more suitable and that large, natural logs tend to work best. You can keep them out of sight if you prefer, or out in the open.
4. Add Hedges and Fruit-Bearing Plants
Birds and smaller animals adore hedges and leafy plants. Birds often make their nests inside hedges, safe from predators and harsh winds. By growing plants and hedges that supply berries, nuts and hips, you will be providing all kinds of wildlife with a valuable source of food during times when they need it most.
5. Log Piles
Similar to methods of composting and dead wood piles in the garden, a log pile is the perfect shelter for hedgehogs. According to the Telegraph, the shelter can be made from a suitable box or a simple log pile. If you choose to go for a box, line it with newspapers and fill it with dry bedding. Hedgehogs are fond of dog food, cat food, cooked vegetables and dried fruit.