If your idea of heaven is a garden full of buzzing bees, birds singing in the trees and hedgehogs snuffling in piles of dead leaves, then maybe its time to make some real changes and give your garden over to wildlife.

If you’ve lived with the same garden for many years, perhaps now is the time for a change. Or maybe your large garden has become a burden and difficult to manage.

Perhaps you’ve got a young family and want your children to be able to explore and learn about nature in your own garden.

Whatever your motivation creating a wildlife haven doesn’t mean just letting it run wild. It takes careful planning and clever design to create a garden that not only suits your lifestyle but is also a genuine haven for wildlife.

So, where do you start?

Firstly think about where your garden is in relation to the surrounding environment – you may live near to a river, open fields, woodland or close to other properties. The design of your wildlife garden should take this into account, as it will affect the species that are likely to be attracted.

Ponds and streams

The key to a really successful wildlife garden is water. It might sound obvious but all birds and wildlife need water in order to flourish.

A pond is literally a magnet for wildlife. After installing a pond in our own garden we saw over 50 species of birds, two species of newts and four different dragonflies within the first year alone.

A large pond opens up a whole new range of plants that you can grow to provide interest and colour all year round as well as a natural habitat for insects, birds and small mammals. Water voles, mallards, moorhens and kingfishers will soon take up residence, as will dragonflies, damselflies and frogs.

Native planting

When considering what to plant in your garden, the aim should be to replicate a natural eco-system that will attract and provide habitat for wildlife. A mature English oak tree, for example, provides habitat for 275 species of insects, which in turn provide the food source for over 20 British birds.

Native species can be just as exciting as more exotic plants. A display of golden hazel catkins in Spring, a haze of bluebells in May or the dramatic silver bark of a birchwood in Winter are hard to beat.

Wildflower meadows

While a traditional striped lawn is quintessentially English, it’s not a great place to live if you are a small mammal, amphibian or bird looking for food and shelter.

A wildflower meadow, however, provides a rich habitat for everything from worms, beetles and insects to all the birds and animals that feed on them. Wildflower meadows are full of mainly perennial, native plants including lots of wild grasses. They work best on poor, unfertilised ground and only need to be cut once a year.

Enjoying nature close-up

Once you’ve created your wildlife haven, you need to make sure you can enjoy it and observe its inhabitants without disturbing them. You might want to have a shed planted with a natural sedum roof tucked away in a corner from where you can hide and watch birds and other visitors to your garden.

Bridges, decks and boardwalks over streams and ponds all provide additional shelter and breeding grounds as well as a way to get really close to the water and observe the wildlife on and in it.

And don’t forget to include comfortable seating in key places to give you the best vantage point to watch nature from.

How GreenArt can help create your wildlife haven

Planning is crucial in order to create the garden that will not only suit your lifestyle but also the wildlife that you’re looking to attract. We start by assessing and analysing your garden, the local environment and the potential wildlife you could attract. We spend time with you to understand what your particular requirements, needs and aspirations are for your garden so that we fully understand what you are hoping to achieve.

We then apply our horticultural knowhow and understanding of wildlife to suggest ideas and features for the garden presented as hand drawn sketches and planting schemes. We’ll then be able to provide an indication of the cost and timescales involved in creating your new garden.

Finally we make it happen with our team of skilled landscapers. Whether it’s creating a complete new pond, lake or stream, native species-rich woodland or wildflower meadow we have the experience and resources to transform your garden into the wildlife haven you always dreamed of.

Call Jo on 01491 280447 or email info@greenart.co.uk to find out how you can give nature a home in your garden.