RSPB - Wildlife welcome here

PUBLISHED: 09:49 01 December 2010 | UPDATED: 16:09 20 February 2013

Common frog - Photo Courtesy of Jodie Randall

Common frog - Photo Courtesy of Jodie Randall

Louise Pedersen of the RSPB explains how you can encourage all manner of creatures into your garden.

Louise Pedersen of the RSPB explains how you can encourage all manner of creatures into your garden.


With its warm and light summer nights, August is a great month to be spending in the garden. While it's best to wait with the heavy-duty hedge trimming until late September when the last birds have finished nesting, right now is a good time to think about how you can do something for wildlife.

By being a little creative with your garden layout, you can imitate different types of natural ecosystems, which will attract many different types of animals, birds and insects. And the added bonus is that there'll be lots of activity that you can watch from your living room window or garden chair.

Here are just a few ideas to what you can do to help things along:

Make a pond - toads, frogs and damselflies love it here

All wildlife needs water, either for drinking or to spend part of their lives in so a well-maintained pond will serve many purposes, and it will quickly become a popular fixture in the garden. Put it somewhere sunny, away from trees. Ensure some edges are shallow and sloping to allow animals easy access, and stock your pond with native plants from other garden ponds or garden centres. Insects, amphibians and invertebrates will find your pond surprisingly quickly on their own, and soon you may see pipistrelle bats hunting for insects over your pond at dusk.

Bog garden - great for bumble bees, common newts and grass snakes

Bog gardens are great on their own but when they surround a pond, they will attract more wildlife than each habitat on its own. Make the bog garden in the way that you would with a pond using a liner but much shallower and puncture some small holes to allow a bit of the water to drain out. Make it reasonably big otherwise it could dry out too quickly.

There are plenty of beautiful plants that do not do well in open water, but thrive in a bog garden, for example purple loosestrife, marsh marigold and water mint. The marigolds flower in early spring and provide a welcome source of food for bees and other insects. If you are lucky, a grass snake will show up. They are harmless and enjoy the damp conditions of a wetland area where they feed on frogs and toads. As they are cold blooded, they need a place to bask in the sun and cover where they can hide.

Wildlife friendly lawn - green woodpeckers and hedgehogs are in for a feast

Lawns that are weed-free, regularly fertilised, neat and bright green are of little value to most wildlife, while those that are scruffy-looking, with plenty of weeds, support many more species. A wildlife friendly garden will attract birds, insects and invertebrates, and grass flowers are very pretty. Green woodpeckers may search for ants and blackbirds and thrushes will look for worms, slugs and snails. Badgers, foxes and hedgehogs love shorter lawns as it makes it easier to dig for earthworms.

It's easy and fun to create a wildlife garden, and you can do as little or as much as you like. To find out more go to www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/wildlifegarden

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