6 Ways of Attracting Wildlife to Your Garden

Posted by admin on Jun 18, 2019 under Backyard
Photo credit: e X p o s e / Shutterstock

The hustle and bustle characteristic of those overcrowded urban environments in which most of us drone away from dawn to dusk can become quite overwhelming. Having a beautiful garden may provide you and your family with a place where it’s possible to relax following a busy day at the office.

Establishing a stronger connection to the natural world is now more necessary than ever. The UN warned in its 2019 Global Assessment that entire ecosystems are deteriorating and, in some cases, even vanishing as a result of human activity, with approximately 1 million species being threatened with extinction.

However, through the bleak predictions of more than 140 expert authors from 50 countries, a hopeful light still glimmers: the report advances the possibility that it’s not too late to make a difference. Change must occur at every level from local to global, and it needs to start right now with each one of us!

In what follows, we’ll provide a few quick and easy tips to help garden owners do their part in preserving the diversity of life on the planet we inhabit. Attracting wildlife to your garden will both create a beautiful environment for you to enjoy, and provide various fauna with new habitats following the systematic destruction of their own.


6 Ways of Attracting Wildlife to Your Garden:

1. Attract Pollinators

2. Become a Beekeeper

3. Plant a Variety of Trees

4. Install Nesting Boxes

5. Create a Water Feature

6. Replace your Garden Walls with Hedgerows

Photo credit: happyfamilyart/Shutterstock

1. Attract Pollinators

Pollinator is a blanket term for all organisms which, by moving pollen from one part of a plant to another, allow it to become fertilised and to produce fruits or seeds. Without these organisms plants would not be able to reproduce; they are thus integral to the proper functioning of the natural ecosystem.

If you’re wondering how to attract wildlife to your garden, setting up your yard so that it’s appealing to pollinators is a good first step.

There are over 1500 pollinators in the UK, including various types of bees, hummingbirds, moths, and many others. In order to attract these types of creatures to your garden, you should look to plant different types of flowers in your yard.

Look to seed local varieties of flowering plants as it’s likely the local fauna will prefer these. However, some types of flowers are better than others at attracting pollinators. Here are a few of the best you should look into, according to what type of animal you’re looking to attract:

Butterflies:

  • Lilac
  • Mint
  • Lavender

Bees:

  • Sunflower
  • Bee Balm
  • Snapdragon

Hummingbirds:

  • Fuchsia
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Columbine

Putting together a rock garden will also go a long way in creating a yard that’s teeming with life and which oozes natural beauty. A rock garden is a small hill made of dirt and rocks on which specific plants (sometimes referred to as ‘rock plants’) are planted.

Few people are aware of the fact that the vast majority of bees (about 70% according to some figures) do not live in hives, instead choosing to nest in the ground. Building a small rock garden will provide these species of bees with a great place to settle down. You could even set up a place within your rock garden or close to it where to you can build a potential nesting place for wild bees. If done properly, bees flying overhead will identify this spot in your garden as a perfect place for them to nest.

Once pollinators make a habit of frequenting your garden, you’ll see the flora flourish year after year as the bees, butterflies, and birds go to work and spread pollen far and wide. You’ll probably see new flowering plants pop up in your garden, brought by these same insects and birds.

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2. Become a Beekeeper

If your local population of bees isn’t quite where it needs to be, or if you’ve just been unlucky and haven’t had any bees nest in your rock garden, you could always get into beekeeping.

When done properly, beekeeping can be a fun and healthy hobby which also brings material benefits (in the form of honey and beeswax, which have a plethora of uses). If you’ve got family members who are allergic to bees, or if you yourself are allergic, keeping bees should certainly not be at the top of your priority list when it comes to attracting wildlife to your garden. However, for everyone else needing more information on how to start and manage a backyard beekeeping operation, our guide to backyard beekeeping will certainly prove to be invaluable.

Keeping bees in your backyard will attract various types of wildlife which prey on the honeybee. These include birds, small mammals, reptiles, and even other insects. With a steady supply of bees available in your garden, birds might even look to nest in the yard so as to take advantage of the feeding opportunity.  

Photo credit: Chiyacat/Shutterstock

3. Plant a Variety of Trees

One of the most effective actions you can take in order to attract wildlife to your garden is to go on a tree planting spree. Trees provide the basic necessities of wildlife survival:

  • Food – the fruits, buds, and even sap of trees in your yard will feed animals such as squirrels, possums, tree frogs, and of course birds.
  • Water – rainwater which collects on trees’ leaves becomes an excellent source of fresh water for wildlife.
  • Shelter – a wide range of animals make their nests in trees, not only birds. Squirrels, frogs, butterflies, and even possums can nest in trees. (Although possums do not create their own nests, they will appropriate any hollowed-out log or tree segment which has been abandoned by the owner).

Thus, planting trees will instantly create a hotspot for nest-building. It’s best to choose trees that are native to the area you live in. This will ensure that there are already animals which use these for food or shelter, making it more likely that these local species will set up shop in your garden.  

If you’ve got enough space to work with, planting a few trees one next to the other will create a forest-like habitat in which animals will feel safe. This will increase your chances of scoring a few garden denizens.  

Photo credit: Ed Reinsel/Shutterstock

4. Install Nesting Boxes

We have touched upon the sway which trees have on animals, providing food, shelter and even water for all manners of local fauna. Let us now turn our attention to a specific type of creature: the bird.

If you want to attract birds to your garden, you should look into building (or buying) and installing bird nests throughout your yard. A pre-built bird nest offers obvious advantages to a bird looking to settle down. Firstly, they don’t need to waste time building their own. Secondly, the wooden structure of the pre-built nest is usually more durable than what birds are able to build themselves.

For those wanting more information, we’ve also written a guide containing in-depth information on how to attract birds to your garden which is worth checking out. 

Photo credit: Ron Zmiri/Shutterstock

5. Create a Water Feature

We’ve gone through various tactics you can adopt in order to attract land animals to your garden, but what about aquatic wildlife?

In order to attract this kind of wildlife to your garden you’ll need to first install some sort of water feature. Creating a small pond is quite easy; all you need is a shovel and some liner in order to keep the water from being absorbed into the ground. Here are a few general pointers:

  • Don’t dig too deep. Your pond should be mostly made up of shallow areas, as this is what most of the wildlife you want to attract prefers. If you want to have a deeper area in which to drop some fish, make sure it isn’t deeper than 40 feet.
  • Don’t make your shallow areas too shallow. If they are, you could see them dry out completely during hotter summer days (and nobody wants that, least of all the creatures that have come to call it home).
  • Make sure the hole is level so that you won’t have water leaking out on one side.

Most pond wildlife will feel best in shallow waters. During mating season, frogs search out shallow ponds in order to lay their eggs. Tadpoles love shallow ponds and it is here where they flourish. If you want to attract frogs, make sure the pond has lots of vegetation around it and is well shaded.

Various other animals will be enticed by garden water features, including most insects. Small mammals such as hedgehogs will rejoice at the sight of a safe drinking spot.   

Photo credit: Dmitry Naumov/Shutterstock

6. Replace your Garden Walls with Hedgerows

Another great tactic for those wondering how to attract wildlife to their garden is replacing garden walls or fences with hedgerows. Hedgerows are hedges made of shrubs or trees which act as natural walls or fencing.

By planting a native hedgerow you’ll not only deliver nesting places for wild birds, but you’ll also provide food during the winter months for animals which eat berries, nuts, or hips. If any of these are nesting animals, they might make your garden their new home.


Looking to the Future:

With wildlife on our planet in peril, and with natural habitats dwindling daily, it will take both a top down and bottom up approach to fight the impeding doom which we’ve steered ourselves towards. We know that change happens gradually, and most often starts with a few individuals taking action and setting an example. Why not transform your garden into a safe haven for wildlife? Why not create new natural habitats in our own backyards as the old ones keep vanishing?

After you’ve optimised your garden for wildlife attraction, you could check out our post on the best garden furniture for small gardens. After all, you’ll also need a place to rest while marvelling at the natural oasis you’ve created.

There are also probably many of you who will want to get rid of some types of pesky wildlife which are ruining your garden. For this, we’ve put together two handy guides on how to keep foxes out of the garden and how to get rid of wasps in the garden.

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