How to create a wildlife friendly garden

Our gardens can be a haven for wildlife. 60% of our 3,148 animal and plant species have declined in the past 50 years, but by providing wildlife friendly spaces for them to live, we can help protect the ones that we have left. I like the idea of sharing my garden with hedgehogs and house sparrows. They’ve never caused me any harm and they do a very good job of controlling pests!

Picture of a hedgehog in a flowerpot

Last month, the RHS and The Wildlife Trusts combined forces to encourage us to put our gardens to good use. As part of their Wild About Gardens week, they’ve communicated how we can make the most of our spaces and encourage wildlife to call them home. There are tasks for those spare two hours, tasks for the weekend and of course, tasks that you can do all year round to create a wildlife friendly garden.

Picture of a bird drinking from a clay bowl

The two hour task

Dead wood is both home and food for beetle grubs and other mini-beasts and it’s these which will encourage birds, hedgehogs and frogs to check out your back garden. Insects are a bird’s chocolate cake! By creating a log pile, you’ll provide a damp, cool space for insects to escape from the summer heat and a warm shelter to hide from the winter frost.

Channel your inner garden designer by placing the logs in a way that ups your garden’s appeal. You could scatter them in your borders to separate your plants or position them closer together in a random, “I’ve just thrown them down” style. The closer together they are, the more beetle grubs you’ll attract. Shade is what you’re aiming for. If you’re ahead of schedule, you could add excess dead wood into a bug hotel structure, like the one below.

Picture of a shelter for wildlife in garden

The weekend job

Not everybody likes the idea of attracting more creepy-crawlies to the garden. If you’re more comfortable with the visually beautiful animal species’, a night-scented garden will bring more moths your way. The perfumed appeal of the flowers means that they’re the perfect finishing touch to garden parties that carry on way into the night too.

The Evening Primrose, Honeysuckle, White Profusion and the Caryopteris x clandonensis are all good fragrant flower picks, ranging from white to blue in colour.

Picture of evening primrose flowers

All year round activity

Picture of a table and chairs in a garden

Instead of cutting your flower borders back, leave the dead stems in place all winter. Birds can pick at the seed heads and the stems provide shelter for lacewings and ladybirds to hide from the winter chill. If you can bear the sight of overgrown grass, adding in wild and untamed areas will take that step further. It could be the perfect excuse for not mowing the lawn!

For more information and further examples of two hour, weekend and all year round tasks, visit the Wild About Gardens website

If you need help designing and planting your wildlife friendly garden, post your job in our Gardener category. Tradespeople will contact you to quote and you’ll be able to view their profile pages, complete with customer ratings, to help you decide who to hire.

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  1. I would like to use half of my garden to encourage butterflies insects and bees, but how do i find a gardener to do this

    1. Hi Mustafa,

      If you post a job using the webform on our homepage (, up to three local gardeners will be able to get in touch with you and quote. You’ll then be free to choose the right tradesperson for you (using the ratings and reviews on their emailed profile pages to help you with your decision).


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