If you fancy yourself a Disney princess that's friendly to all wild animals and woodland creatures, you may be dreaming of a garden that's the ideal home for wildlife to go with your new build. You will be happy to hear that it doesn't have to remain just a fantasy - you can have the perfect garden of your dreams and make it a safe haven for wildlife, just like you always imagined. That can be achieved by putting some tips and tricks into practice and adjusting some of your design ideas for your garden to something that will be appropriate and welcoming to all the different species that will be visiting or setting up their forever home in your backyard.
1. Install some bird feeders and birdbaths
If what you're looking to invite into your garden are some feathery friends, then you're going to have to make sure there is something attractive there for the birds. The easiest way to attract a bird or an animal, by far, is to make food available to them. It works when you're trying to trap pests, and it also works when you're trying to make friends. Thus, install some bird feeders in your garden, and add a bird bath. Not only will they be aesthetically pleasing and give your backyard that extra touch, but they will also come in handy for the little birdies. Make sure that the feeders are always well-stocked and then wait for the birds to come flying over. You will notice that birds will start coming in, and once they get used to the fact that they can find food, water, and shelter at your place, they will continue to come back again and again, because your garden will be a safe place for them.
2. Plant the right animal-friendly shrubsShrubbery can go a long way when it comes to attracting wildlife, so make sure you know how to pick them, where to plant them, and how to care for them in order to create the appropriate home for your animals. The first thing you need to do is make sure none of the types you choose are poisonous or can harm the wildlife in any way. Think about the types of wildlife you wish to attract and provide shelter for in your garden and pick your shrubbery accordingly, such as hedges, to protect the garden from strong winds, or even trees, if they are small enough to fit your garden, as they can serve as home for birds' nests, or insects. The correct shrubs can provide food as well, in the form of nuts, berries, certain types of flowers, etc.
3. Create a pond
And if you've gotta catch 'em all and you're looking to have aquatic life as well, then you need to provide the right environment for these animals. Lizards, fish, frogs - they will be attracted to any body of water you may have, so a pond can be the perfect addition to your garden. Some tall grass, some wildflowers, and you can have a little wild corner right in your own backyard. Warning: The thing to keep in mind with ponds and bodies of water, in general, is that while they attract animals, they also attract insects. You can expect the mosquito population to skyrocket, so if that's not something you are very keen on, you may want to give it a second thought. If you do still want to do it, make sure the pond is far away enough from the house that you won't be bothered by insects, frogs trying to enter your home, or hearing crickets at all hours of the day and night.
4. Leave some areas of your garden unkempt
A lot of the wildlife you are trying to welcome thrives in shady, dark, protected areas of your garden, like tall grass, piles of leaves, tree trunks, compost, etc. especially if you want to be the go-to spot for hedgehogs. Small animals like this like to hide and feel protected, so by leaving just a corner of your garden 'wild', you can ensure the most appropriate environment for a variety of animals. Extra tip: Something you need to be very careful about is cutting the grass in the garden and tending to it, in general. You don't want to destroy a shelter by mistake, or even hurt an animal. If you're going to walk towards that area of your garden, do so carefully, in order to avoid stepping on and/or scaring an animal that may be lurking or hiding in the greenery.
5. Be careful about pesticides
The worst thing you can do is accidentally poison the animals you were trying to protect. Obviously, wildlife doesn't take kindly to being killed, so you may need to exercise a bit more caution when it comes to tending to your garden and backyard area. Pesticides are designed to keep pests away, but they may the same unfortunate effect on the animals you are trying to attract, instead of scare away, so be sure to always check the labels and instructions on the pesticides you use, or if possible try and avoid them completely.
If you have a fruit and vegetable garden or a flower garden, it is advisable that you keep them separate, in a designated area of your property, preferably one that is closed off as much as possible, even by just a small fence. That will at least keep some of the wildlife away, and prevent any accidental harm from happening.
All in all, there are numerous things you can do to transform your garden into a wildlife paradise. You don't need to choose between having a beautiful garden and having an animal-friendly one - you can achieve both goals if you plan and design your space accordingly. All you have to do is think about what you're trying to achieve and research appropriate environments for the various types of wildlife you wish to attract. Then, you start taking steps towards making this safe haven a reality.
Our thanks to Ann Carr for a brilliant, and inspiring, blog post. We love to hear about your wildlife haven gardens, do find us on Facebook to tell us about yours or tag us on Instagram, or drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This guest post was supplied by Ann Carr. Ann is a freelance writer from Chester who likes nothing better than researching and publishing the latest trends in property and garden design. She has written a number of articles on behalf of new home builder Anwyl Homes. When not writing Ann can be seen at many yoga sessions or doing a bit of retail therapy.