10 Ways to Make Your Garden More Wildlife & Environmentally Friendly

Photo credit - Eirik Olsen

9th January 2020

Combined, British gardens cover an area hundreds of thousands of acres in size, so how they are managed has a big impact on wildlife such as birds, amphibians such as frogs, insects such as butterflies and small mammals such as hedgehogs. As well as impacting wildlife, gardens can also impact the environment, and if gardeners switch to some green gardening methods, this can also greatly help the environment. Here is 10 ways you can ensure your garden is working for nature rather than against it.

Water Butt - Install a water butt in your garden to capture rainwater before it disappears down the drainhole. A water butt means you can fill your watering can in the garden, and it won't add to your water bill, if you have a meter. Collecting water can help slow the flow of water, going through the drains after heavy rainfall, reducing the chance of flash flooding. Gardenis.co.uk sells a range of water butts from 114 litre to 350 litre in size and they can also be bought as double and triple barrel kits. They are all made from recycled plastic from household waste, old car bumpers etc.

Available HERE

Composter - Having a compost bin in your garden can help reduce the number of trucks on the road,using energy, as all those garden clippings and veg kitchen scraps will not be sent away to either be thrown into landfill in plastic bags, or to a council composting depot. Instead they can be used to create rich nutritious soil to use in your garden. It also means there is less need to buy compost bags at the garden centre, some of which contain peat, that has been extracted from natural areas. Peat bogs are 'carbon sinks' that store large amounts of CO2 in them. If you do buy ready made compost, try and make sure it is peat free. 220 and 330 litre recycled plastic composters in green or black (with or without a base) available at Gardenis.co.uk HERE

Wildlife Pond - Adding a pond to your garden is one of the best things you can do to make your garden wildlife friendly. A pond can attract frogs, toads, newts, water insects, and birds. One of the quickest and easiest ways to install a pond is to use a ready made preformed pond mould, that can be added to a hole, then filled with water and then plant some native aquatic plants in the pond and around the edges. Sizes 85 litres, 200 litres, and 420 litres available to buy at Gardenis.co.uk HERE

Use eco friendly weed and pest control - Imagine how many litres of chemicals are sprayed and poured in British gardens every year. Probably hundreds of thousands of litres. There is now much more environmentally friendly alternatives to use. For example, there is an established brand of rose insecticide that actually says on the label - HARMFUL TO BEES. What a disaster for gardeners to be using such a thing, when there is nature friendly alternatives that do not harm bees. Ecofective is a new range of products that are great to use. They sell a rose insecticide, weed killers, lawn care etc that are safe and natural, and contain no chemicals such as glysophates.. Available to buy online at Thompson & Morgan HERE

Plant a tree - A tree can help make a garden beautiful, and if most houses in a street have a tree, then the street will also be very appealing. It's well known that 'leafy suburbs' are very desirable places to live. As well as being visually attractive, a tree will take some CO2 out of the atmosphere, and provide a home for insects and possibly birds, as well as being a potential food source.There is trees suitable for all sizes of garden, even the smallest garden can have space for an Olive tree or Acer growing in a planter. It's important to get the right tree for the place it is being planted. Here is 5 great trees for a small garden.

Add a bird box - There is bird boxes for a wide range of birds, and adding one to your garden can help attract birds to your garden. If you have a large garden in the countryside why not install a large box for owls, or if you are in area where Swifts spend the summer, install a specialised Swift Box. Robins like nest boxes with a large entrance. You can buy nest boxes made for robins, but you could also use an old teapot or metal kettle. Traditional nest boxes with a small circular entrance hole are used by Blue Tits and Great Tits. Available to buy online at Amazon HERE

Green roof - If you have a shed, workshop, detached garage, or other outbuilding, then why not add a green roof. Not only will it look fantastic, it can provide nectar for bees and butterflies. The easiest way to create a green roof is to buy ready planted trays that contain low growing Sedum plants and moss. Enviromat is available at Turf Online HERE

Switch to solar - If you are buying decorative lights, shed lights, security lights, water features, or pond fountains for your garden try solar powered versions. Using the power of the sun to recharge the batteries during daylight hours, so they can be used at night, means that no mains electricity or disposable batteries are required. If you have a shed or workshop, it's possible to install a solar panel on the roof, which can be used to power an internal battery, which can be used to power lights and electric tools. Solar garden products available to buy at Amazon.co.uk HERE

Leave an untidy corner with nettles etc and plant nectar rich plants - If possible leave a part of the garden wild, and let nettles etc grow without disturbing them. An ideal place is down the side of a greenhouse or shed. This can provide a small habitat for caterpillars and butterflies, and other insects. Create a small wildflower meadow by sowing wildflower seeds. This can be in a window box, patio planters, in place of a lawned area, or down the side of a driveway. They are low maintenance and just need to be cut at the end of the summer. In borders and planters increase the number of nectar rich plants, such as Lavender and Russian Sage, to attract pollinating insects. You can nectar rich garden plants from Thompson and Morgan HERE

Add raised beds, planters or remove some slabs in concreted over gardens - If you have a front garden that has been concreted over and replaced with a drive, consider adding some raised beds, or planters, or remove some of the paving slabs to create a small border. Then plant some low maintenance flowering perennial plants such as Lavender, Russian Sage and dwarf Buddlejias. Fully paved areas increase the chance of flash flooding in areas, after heavy rain, as the water drains away very quickly as it can't seep into the ground. Not only will the drive be more attractive with plants, it will also provide some nectar for passing bees and butterflies. Planters available to buy from Gardenis.co.uk HERE