There are 4 basic areas to consider when creating a garden that will come alive with wildlife after a very short time. Watching wildliife in your green space adds a whole dimension of interest and enjoyment: Shelter, Food, Water and management.
The secret is variety in all things; different species of wildlife requires different food sources. Pollinator plants for bees, insects, butterflies and moths – Fruit trees and berry bearing shrubs, trees and plants. Bird feeders, good quality soil and grass and special food for hedgehogs. Poor unimproved soil is best for wild flower meadows. We all need somewhere safe and comfortable to live. Providing different types of habitats will encourage a wide variety into your garden or green space. Some like a good log pile or stones, long grass to hide in and move about in safety.
A mature tree can support life for a couple of hundred species – birds, insects, moths and bats. We all need water so does wildlife, some just need a shallow drinking trough. A pond is a must for any wildlife garden for plants and animals. Good management of your wildlife garden is critical. It is not a wildlife garden unless it is organic. No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, slug pellets or chemicals. Create a wormery, have a water butt. Let plants go to seed, you get free plants the following year and birds particularly the finches get easy access to natural food.
Dead and decaying plant material provides a damp home for some and food for others. Connectivity – lastly think about how animals can move from your green space to the next green space. For birds, beetles and butterflies its easy but mammals such as hedgehogs need small holes cut into the bottom of fences between gardens. Get friends and neighbours together to improve connectivity.