Senior Associate Director & Head of Waterside, Estate Agency
In light of National Parks Week, running from 23–29 July this year, why not consider taking a few easy steps to have a positive impact on the wildlife in your garden, from amphibians to pollinators.
The Independent recently reported that frogs and toads have been disappearing from British gardens due to a decline in the popularity of ponds. Though frogs are some of the most commonly seen wildlife, in gardens aside from birds, sightings have been declining over the past four years.
As the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) instructs, your garden is a nature reserve in miniature and a great home for wildlife. Obviously, there are certain insects and other creatures that can be a nuisance in your garden, or even dangerous to your pets. But birds, frogs and toads, bees and butterflies can all enliven and brighten your garden. Some of them can even fend off unwanted pests. So how can you attract, protect and sustain them? The answer is finding ways to make a wildlife-friendly garden.
Examine your habitats
The RSPB explains that your garden, regardless of its size, can be home to several different types of wildlife habitats. Lawns with long grass provide a home for a wide array of insects, which in turn provide food for birds.Trees and hedges provide shelter and nesting areas for small animals. And ponds and other water features provide a habitat for amphibians and other invertebrates. Frogs don’t spend all their time in water however, so sheltered spaces like compost heaps, shaded rock gardens and other areas of foliage can work in harmony with Mother Nature. Take stock of the various “microhabitats” in your gardens as well as throughout the grounds of your property and ensure that they are well-maintained and welcoming to wildlife.
There are many ways in which you can provide food for all manner of UK wildlife, which will both attract and nourish them. You can hang a decorative bird feeder outside of a window, on a porch or on a tree, and you can put a bird bath in your garden. You can go to your local garden supply shop and buy special types of feed for various small mammals. Berry bushes and fruit trees provide a nutritious food source for many animals. Butterflies and bees are a common sight in gardens, but several species are in decline as they battle habitat loss. Grow nectar-rich flowers in the spring and summer months to encourage them, like bluebells, marigolds, buttercups and lavender. And if space allows, adding a pond or small water feature will provide all manner of fauna with a water source.
Let the food chain do its job
Bear in mind that not all pests are truly pests. Some studies have found that ants are almost as effective at protecting plants as chemical pesticides. Bats eat mosquitos, and moths whose eat caterpillars that are dangerous to plants. And Spiders are likewise misunderstood – they rarely affect humans and their webs are designed to ensnare flies and mosquitos. Frogs and toads in your garden will help keep the inspect population in check too – a single frog can eat over 100 insect in one night!
Our pick of the best homes with gloriously wild gardens:
A stunning small estate in Snowdonia with staggering views. A jewel of a property, hidden in the Vale of Ffestiniog, with a manor house, four cottages and 100 acres of pasture and woodland, as well as formal gardens, a small lake and a river.
A ‘hidden gem’ close to unspoilt beaches and immediate access to wonderful coastal walks, with the surrounding countryside being designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty bordering a protected wildlife area with an extraordinary collection of rare birds. The gardens include two very large Coy Carp ponds, a variety of tree species and woodland area, all working together to support diversity.