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11 Ideas for helping wildlife thrive in your garden

Whether you’re currently designing your front or back garden, or are looking to just make a few tweaks to an existing garden design, this guide could help you make your garden wildlife friendly.

If you can:

1. Don’t use weed killers and artificial fertilisers on your lawn because these substances are toxic and harmful to both the environment and our health.  

2. Allow some weeds to grow, by not mowing your lawn as often. Clover, for instance, can provide your grass with much-needed nitrogen.

3. Incorporate flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen. Lavender, foxgloves, rosemary, thyme, garlic mustard and thistles are great for attracting butterflies and bees.

4. Climbers, hedges and trees can offer shelter, food and cover to birds. Choose native hedges such as blackthorn, hawthorn and holly, perhaps with a crab apple or rowan as well. If you plant dog’s violet underneath and allow leaves to gather, this can attract hedgehogs and insects.

5. Plant berry-bearing bushes and trees such as dog rose, whitebeam, honeysuckle, ornamental cherry, pyracantha and berberis to help birds and squirrels get through the winter months. Berries and fruit that falls on the ground can be enjoyed by a range of different insects and animals (even badgers and foxes.)
6. Try to have a few areas of un-cut long grass in your garden. The daisies, dandelions and buttercups that shoot up will look pretty and the wild patches can boost insect diversity. This is good news for birds who feed off them and your garden as a whole.

7. A compost heap in an unused corner of your garden can attract hungry woodlice, worms, beetles, slugs, snails and other creatures. They in turn, attract birds, frogs and hedgehogs.

8. Consider having a pond, bird bath or fountain. It shouldn’t take long for frogs, newts and insects to make a pond their home and birds will appreciate having somewhere to drink and bathe. Give your pond a natural slope on one side if you can to make it easy for creatures to walk into it and get out when needed.
9. In the winter months you could consider putting out a dish of water for wildlife but never put out a dish of milk. Hedgehogs will appreciate a dish of dog food, foxes like chopped up fruit, badgers love peanuts and shrews like mealworms.

10. Put up bat and bird boxes. A bat box needs to be around 10 to 12 feet high, in a sunny spot and be facing South to South East. Bird boxes should ideally be placed in trees, 10 feet up, away from bird feeders and in a sheltered spot. You need to make sure that they’re not accessible by cats.
11. Install a bird table if you don’t have one already. Position it in a quiet place in your garden, with a small bush nearby that the birds can sit on until they feel it’s safe to feed. Blackbirds and thrushes like bruised apples, robins and a wide range of other birds will appreciate protein-boosting meal worms, especially in the winter months. You could also get some fat balls, bird cake, peanuts and put out bird seed mixture twice a day if possible.

David Wilson Homes has partnered with the RSPB to encourage homeowners to invite birds into their garden. We’re also committed to providing green space in our developments by planting 20 trees or shrubs per home.

Visit our information page to find out more about how we're incorporating our biodiversity knowledge and desire for conservation into every development.

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