Best Way to Create a Wildlife Garden

The vibrancy, colour and serenity of nature are brought closer to home in this clever design, which includes several differ­ent habitats within a single, fairly small site and provides opportunities for attracting a wide range of wildlife. The variety, scent and colour will please both the gardener and the wildlife. This serene garden is a haven that will hum with the activity of insects in sum­mer and be a welcoming, restful place for you all year round.


The hard landscaping uses wood as the main material to soften the edges and allow nature to spill over into every area.

Wildlife Garden Best Way to Create a Wildlife Garden

The main seating and entertaining area is a large expanse of timber decking near the house. There are several large wooden tubs filled with flowering plants, which can be changed seasonally. A spacious seating area in a natural material will limit the effect of the occupants on the rest of the garden and allow animals to come and go freely. A log path leads down the lawn towards an arch, which is covered with a tangle of climbing plants and through which the meadow area can be reached.

The raised bed, which contains plants that will attract bees, birds, butterflies and other insects, is edged with cut logs. This cre­ates a change of level and brings the flowers to eye level. Two small trees back two simple wooden benches where you can sit quietly to relax and enjoy the rest of the garden. The pool is easily visible from here, so that you do not have to get so close that you disturb visiting wildlife.

Probably the single most effective way to increase the range and number of wildlife visitors to a garden is to introduce a pool and bog garden. The pool provides life-giving water, while the bog garden offers shelter and food in the form of slugs, snails and so on for the visitors to the pool. The pool does not have to be elaborate. Here, a small, natural-looking pool is ser into a deep bed, the front of which is a boggy area, created by extend­ing the pool liner into a shallow hollow. A tiny pool is provided for wildlife that does not like to venture far from the safety of the plants. Many animals, including toads, frogs, hedgehogs and voles, like having access to water but also will enjoy the proximity of the plant leaves and stems. The small beach area allows animals to drink safely from the pool without falling in and drowning as might happen with a steep-sided pool.

Wildlife Garden 1 Best Way to Create a Wildlife Garden

The stand of nettles will be a good place for several species of butterfly caterpillar, and the log pile will make an ideal home for hedgehogs, small rodents and perhaps even grass snakes.


Attracting wildlife means doing as little as possible to harm natural things by using chemicals, so companion planting is used to help control pests. Tagetes (marigold) attracts hoveiflies, which will eat aphids, which may be partial to the tender shoots of the plants in the flowerbed. Some of the flowers are dou­bly fascinating — Iris foetidissima, for instance, has pretty flowers, and when they fade it produces pods that burst open to reveal bright red berries, which animals love.

Birds will be encouraged into the garden by the plants, but there are also two feeders to attract even more birds, which will eat a lot of the pests that can harm plants, such as slugs, snails and some insects. Having a wide range of wildlife in the garden helps enor­mously with pest control because, luckily for gardeners, most friendly animals live to eat those that gardeners find are a nuisance.

Beyond the arch is a meadow area, which is mown twice a year and planted with spring- and late summer-flowering wildflowers. These will attract many insects and small animals to feed on them and the grass seed. Two mown paths give access to this area.

The single Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak) will also attract wildlife. Most oaks can sup­port more than 300 species of animals, birds and insects, making them the number one tree to plant. The batbox and birdbox should also attract residents that will further reduce the number of insect pests in the area.

Wildlife Garden 2 Best Way to Create a Wildlife Garden

The wide shrub border in the corner offers shelter and food for birds and gives a lush green backdrop. Climbing plants are encouraged to grow up the trellis, increasing the range of plants and the amount of green­ery. Near the house Berberis darwinii ‘Flame’ will attract birds to its autumn berries, and the bird feeder will provide food for birds and maybe squirrels in the cold months.

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