Taking time to rewild your garden can help to create a much-needed home for wildlife.
Simple changes can make your garden welcome to an array of species, from bees and butterflies to hedgehogs and hawfinches.
Here, we reveal five simple ways to rewild your garden and help wildlife to flourish.
5 easy ways to rewild your garden
Plants for pollinators
Bees and other pollinating insects are sadly in decline. Pesticides, habitat destruction and poor air quality are just a few of the factors contributing to their dwindling numbers, with humans largely to blame.
But, there is something we can do to help.
Having pollinator-friendly plants in your garden helps to attract a number of pollinating insects by providing a much-needed food source. Not just for summer, you can plant insect-friendly flowers all year round, helping to support your garden’s ecosystem and keep nature thriving.
The RHS offers easy-to-understand Plants for Pollinators guides that you can download if you’re unsure where to get started.
Clean your bird feeders
Bird feeders are an amazing way to attract winged visitors in your garden, but it’s important to keep feeding stations clean.
Avian flu is having a devastating impact on bird populations globally. The 2021/2022 outbreak was first detected in the UK in October 2021. While initially it was confined to poultry, it now appears to be impacting wild species too.
Make sure to clean bird tables and feeders regularly. The RSPB recommends using a 5% disinfectant solution.
Monitor the food being eaten too. Bacteria can soon fester on anything left behind. Refresh the food daily to limit contamination, and ensure any food placed on the ground is eaten before nightfall.
Provide a water source
Rehydrate thirsty visitors by including a fresh water source in your garden.
Place a bowl or dish of water in a quiet spot that’s unlikely to be disturbed. While birds can access free-standing bird baths, animals like hedgehogs, mice, squirrels, and snakes will appreciate a water source that’s on ground level.
It’s important to ensure that all of your water sources feature an easy exit point in case any animals tumble in and risk drowning. Place clean gravel in the base, with a slope to the edge of the bowl. This helps to create a simple and safe shoreline for animals to easily escape from.
Refresh the water daily to reduce the likelihood of disease and, in winter, use warm water to help melt any ice that may have formed in the bowl.
A place to bask
The UK is home to three species of snake: the grass snake, smooth snake and adder. Snake sightings are rare and sadly could be set to disappear entirely if current trends continue.
A 2021 report by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation assessed the number of reptiles and toads living across Great Britain. Worryingly, it identified the smooth snake as endangered, while the adder, once considered common, is ‘vulnerable’ in England, and ‘near threatened’ in Wales and Scotland.
Snakes love warm, quiet spots where they can hide from predators, and ideally ones that are undisturbed. Leaving a space in your garden for the grass to grow long is a good place to start. You can also place pieces of corrugated metal to this area, ideally in a sunny spot. This will help to create a cosy space that snakes can bask under.
Compost heaps are something of a haven for snakes too. Grass snakes, in particular, prefer to incubate their eggs in warm, moist places.
To enhance the likelihood of a snake taking up residence in your compost bin, place it in a quiet, sunny spot close to a hedge. Make sure there’s easy access into and out of the bin, and replenish often with vegetable waste and garden cuttings.
Make your garden accessible
Many animals love to explore far and wide to find food, shelter and even a mate.
Yet, despite this, many of our gardens nowadays resemble fortresses, with high, impenetrable fences surrounding them.
Creating a small hole or gap at the bottom of your fences will allow a corridor for animals, such as hedgehogs, to roam freely.