If you love nature, you might well be looking at ways to do more at home or in the garden, and one way is rewilding your garden. Whether you have a large garden, small garden or allotment, there are lots of ways you can make your garden more wildlife friendly. Plus I’ve found a few ways you can make your home or flat more useful to nature, even without a garden.
Now, I have to confess, I am not a gardener, I have no idea what I’m doing, but it turns out that to rewild your garden, you don’t need much knowledge! If you’re not sure that you can manage a completely wild garden, rewilding your garden in sections could be the best way to start.
Here are some tips for creating a more nature friendly garden:
- Raised beds and pots can be great for planting off the ground if you find it difficult kneeling down on the ground. They can be moved easily and repositioned to find the optimum location for your insect friends. You can plant wildflowers in pots just as easily as a garden.
Let it grow
- Don’t cut the grass. If you really have to cut the grass, then cut it later, leave it longer between each cut, and create a ‘no mow’ area.
- Create a wildflower section in your garden with bee friendly flowering plants to attract wildlife. You can do this in pots too, in the garden or on the windowsill.
- Daisies, dandelions, buttercups and all of those flowers which grow naturally do a fantastic job of attracting nature. So don’t mow these, maybe start mowing around them. If you really have to mow the grass or keep areas specifically for them to grow.
- Don’t cut back the berries and blackberry bushes too much. Whilst they can take over a garden space if left to their own devices. Cutting them back a little each year and then allowing them to grow and fruit for wildlife to enjoy is such a great way to help. Many animals also live and shelter in these kinds of bushes to keep safe and warm.
- Think about the plastic you are using in your garden. Most pots are plastic and there are so many now in existence it’s becoming a real problem. My advice would be to grow your own plants from seeds, or get cuttings (with permission) from other gardens. By sharing with friends and family or other allotment owners you can cut out the need for new pots and use what you have. The RHS have a brilliant blog all about plastic free gardening, so take a look for some great tips HERE.
- Save your clippings and trimmings and pile up to decompose, providing shelter as well as nutrient rich compost materials to add to your garden.
- Use natural things to nurture the soil. Things like coffee grounds are meant to be great for adding to soil, and the benefit is that you can use your own coffee grounds. Or nip to your local coffee shop and they’re bound to be grateful for you taking it off their hands.
- Consider whether you can create your own compost area, (not suitable for all homes), but if you can it’s a great way to reduce your waste and generate nutrients for your soil.
- Create areas for water to collect both on the ground and off the ground for birds and animals to drink from – make sure these are ice free during winter.
- Bird feeders are great for making sure that birds get access to food all year round. Again if you haven’t got a garden, you can find great bird feeders which attach to the window. These can be great for being able to watch the birds close up too. The National Trust have some great feeders, including this window one. You can also make your own feeders – we love this one from the Woodland Trust.
- Don’t use peat – peat is extracted from peatlands, which are diverse ecosystems and under threat. To find out more about this, visit The Wildlife Trusts to read more about it and find out how you can support their campaign.
- Don’t rake up the leaves! Leaves are meant to fall to the ground and degrade, in fact they are rich in nutrients, so let them fall. If you must sweep them at all, make a pile or section of the garden for them to decompose naturally, then you’ll have some lovely nutrient rich material for the garden! Plus they make great cosy places for animals to shelter.
No garden, no problem
- Hanging baskets can be great even if you don’t have a garden, either by the front door, or outside of the window.
- Window boxes are great too for creating mini garden spaces on the windowsill to encourage insects to come.
- If you’re wanting to grow food too, then you can start as small or as large as you have space for. Using pots for herbs is a great place to start if you don’t have an outdoors space. Keep them near the window for their preferred level of light and water them when needed. You can grown things like carrots and potatoes easily in pots but you’d need a bit outdoors space for this. They are really easy to grow though, so well worth finding a space for them if you can.
Slugs and bugs
- Don’t use pesticides or repellants. Find natural ways to deter the bugs you don’t want, whilst understanding that these bugs, (whilst they can be annoying), are an important part of the eco system.
- Try not to see things like slugs as unwanted annoyances, instead think of them as a vital part of the natural biodiversity of the garden. If you have a favourite plant you’d rather they didn’t eat, you could use natural methods of discouraging them. Planting more prickly plants around the ones you’d like to keep them away from is one way.
- Add netting only if you need to. Netting has been traditionally largely plastic, however, you can get plastic free options including jute and other natural options. Be careful that animals can’t get caught in it. I’d recommend leaving some of the fruits accessible to wildlife to eat, so that they can access all kinds of foods in your garden.
Make it accessible
- Make sure you keep gaps at the bottom of your fences for creatures to access easily. Hedgehogs love to wander between gardens to find food and shelter, and this can really help.
- Make homes for your animal and insect guests! Bug hotels, bird boxes and more are all great for attracting wildlife to your garden. Make sure they can’t be disturbed and sit back and watch.
Share your natural gardens with us, we’d love to see what you’ve done to encourage nature to thrive. You can find us on Instagram.