Garden Series IV-How to Create a Wildlife Garden

Courtesy of Sussex Wildlife Trust

Design Considerations

This garden design is natural and attractive, akin to a country-cottage style garden.

No rigid layouts and colour co-ordination necessary -it’s all about creating a rich, bio-diverse environment to attract wide-ranging species. This means a colourful, relaxed space that will provide hours of enjoyment.

Is achievable on a relatively low budget, you don’t want anything exotic –simply to replicate habitats that occur naturally in the UK.

Just invest in a choice piece of vintage metal garden furniture and a new digital camera to capture some great wildlife shots.

The Essentials

Pile – This could be a log or wood pile which is a natural habitat for many creatures in the wild, offering a sheltered space for small mammals. Include leaf litter too and invite hibernating toads and hedgehogs. Similarly you can use a stone or rock pile, use lots of different sizes and dig a hole in underneath to attract larger creatures seeking shelter.

Pond – Nothing will increase the biodiversity in your garden more than a pond. Frogs, toads, dragonflies, snails, newts and even small mammals like hedgehogs and birds use ponds as watering holes.



A diverse range of native plants will attract a variety of insects, birds and small mammals. Flowering plants will attract the birds and the bees while shrubs and hedges will be a refuge for small mammals. Here are some ideas.

Hawthorn – this tree offers a home to many species of insect, bird and small mammal and is a valuable addition to your wildlife garden.

Bramble – plants with berries will attract birds throughout the year, blackberries are a good choice but there are many others.

Sunflowers – provides food throughout the winter when seeds are left to ripen. Or choose other pants that seed such as marigolds or poppies.

Buddleia– Butterflies are attracted to nectar and the buddleia is a firm favourite. There are many other flowers which offer a great source of nectar to the butterfly, the need to be accessible, shallow flowers.

Nettles – One of the UKs most important plant species, a magnet for birds and other insect eaters.

Ivy – grow climbers up walls to provide a home for many insect species which enjoy hiding in the brickwork cracks.

Pond Plants – Safe marshy areas in your pond will attract a variety of wildlife.


Bird Tackle – houses, feeders, tables and baths – can be stylish accessories too. You can also buy bat boxes, insect habitats, hedge-hog houses etc.

Planters – containing a variety of flowering plants, will decorate your patio and enable you to include even more species.

Furniture – Choose something natural looking to fit in with this garden. Metal garden furniture is great as it’s low maintenance. Choose a vintage wrought iron bench, an antique style table and chairs or a comfy lounge set that’s perfect for bird or butterfly watching.


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