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Wildlife Gardening - Getting Started

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Wildlife Gardening - Getting Started
Introduction | Mammals and Birds | Woodland Habitat
Insects, Amphibians and Reptiles | Wildflower Meadow | Water Habitat
Natural Slug Control | Natural Weed Control | The Winter Border

Most people's knowledge of wildlife gardening consists of leaving bread and water out for the birds, with the occasional nestbox thrown in. As more people gain an interest in nature conservation, that is changing.

This project is designed to help anyone interested to get started, and to help make sure that any animals or insects that are welcome in the garden will have the right habitat to live in and the right food to eat.


It is possible to have a number of miniature habitats in a garden, although they need to be designed carefully. Bats might visit at night to feed, but they need the right conditions to encourage them to make their home there.

Choosing the right plants

Deciding which plants to buy, and where to put them is a good place to start. Native plants are the best type to buy, and they can be found at The Postcode Plants Database (UK only). This way they will support more insects, and more precious plants will be not be under attack.


Thought must be given to the design of the garden. Access will be needed to and from the garden, although paths will often develop on their own while walking to and fro. Most houses have a patio or something similar to create a living area outside. If a pond is wanted, whatever its size, trees or large shrubs should not be planted nearby, as ponds need sunlight, and it will make more work to have to continually pick dead leaves out of the pond.

It is also wise to place any family areas nearest to the house, with butterfly borders and bird tables within easy viewing from the house. A place to sit and watch busy wildlife further down the garden would be ideal for quiet moments, sheltered, if possible, for any night observations.

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