Your garden, balcony or even a window box has the potential to be a haven to a variety of wildlife. However, you may also want your outdoor space to be your own personal area and not somewhere to attract animals. This is particularly the case with “pests” such as mice, spiders and moles. Whether you want to open it up for Mother Nature to bring her creatures into, or close it up as a personal preference, read on to find out how to manage your garden wildlife humanely, as well as the potential advantages we can get from having them around in return.
Let It Grow vs Neat and Tidy
The condition you keep your grass in is actually a good indicator of how wildlife friendly your garden is. Insects and small animals love to hide in long grass. They might want to settle into your garden if you have it. If you keep your grass neatly cut however, or don’t have grass at all, then you’re already on your way to keeping your garden wildlife free. However, if you have a big enough garden, consider setting aside a small patch of land to grow and let wildlife into it.
Creepy Crawlies: Yes or No?
When you think of wildlife, hedgehogs and badgers may be amongst the first creatures to spring to your mind. However, not all garden wildlife comes in soft, furry forms. It can be just as wonderful to welcome insects and bugs such as worms, bees and butterflies.
Worms are a gardener’s best friend due to their habit of mixing soils and enabling plants to grow. Ensure that your soil has been well-fed with peat-free compost and mulch fallen leaves to make it habitable for worms. They are also a popular choice of food for animals such as robins, foxes and frogs, who may come to your garden to find them, which will give you more animals to spot. However, if you don’t want these additional creatures in your outdoor space, consider starting a worm farm, so the worms are contained and can still give you healthy compost soil.
You should always aim to welcome bees into your garden, in order for them to pollinate and to have safe places to go, as they are currently an at-risk species. Bees also like a variety of different flowers, including lavender, honeysuckle and foxgloves, but they also like herbs such as Sage, Chives and Thyme, which you can also cut and use in your kitchen. Try Trailing Nasturtium for hanging baskets. The bright colours are more prominent for insects to detect, with their volume helping with this display.
Come On In vs Stay Out
There are things you can do to actively welcome garden wildlife. Hedgehog highways are becoming increasingly popular, as more people are choosing to leave small, open gaps in their fences for them to come in safely. You can also buy or make a hedgehog house for your visitor to have somewhere to rest and eat. You may also find that animals such as squirrels and birds will have easier access to your garden if you have a tree with branches that extend over into other gardens. However, if you do not want these visitors, make sure to seal up all the gaps in your fences, and cut back any plants that may be stretching into your neighbours property.
Always Choose Kindness
There are some creatures that even the biggest animal lovers don’t want in their gardens. Many animals are happy to move on, but there are some creatures that like to set up their homes in one place, such as moles. Moles are seen as a gardener’s enemy, due to the holes they create in people’s gardens by way of digging their tunnels. Sadly, lots of people choose to set up traps to catch and kill moles in order to stop them. There is a much kinder remedy than this. One trick is to dig a hole close to the mole and place an empty wine bottle in the ground. Moles hate noise and will move away from the loud sound of wind blowing a glass bottle. You can also buy anti-mole bulbs to put in the ground to deter these velvety creatures too. Other animals, such as mice and foxes can also be managed humanely.
While some welcome foxes into their gardens, the majority of people don’t want them there . Although they are beautiful and intelligent, foxes are a nightmare for people who own livestock such as chickens and rabbits. Foxes, like a lot of garden wildlife, can be put off approaching a property if anything sudden appears, as sudden movement is associated with threat. Sensory based lights, water or noise that can be triggered by a creature entering your garden can deter a fox from entering a garden. Combined with a fox repellent (which won’t harm the fox in any way) these methods should keep your foxes.
Box Houses Vs Sealed Gaps
Everyone should have room for a small wooden house. You can put on in your garden or hang one by your front door, depending on where you live. You can easily find traditional bird or bee boxes to buy online, or instructions on how to make your own. While insect houses should be left alone after you’ve set them up, bird boxes need to be cleaned out every autumn in preparation to make it inviting for the next family of birds who might try to move in. Additionally, insect hotels are very easy to make and there are plenty of free resources online to help you build one, such as this: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-build-bug-mansion
Add some water
If you have the space to add a pond in your garden, you should consider it. Not only will it welcome garden wildlife, but in some cases, a pond can increase the value of a property. As for those without gardens or room to add such a big space for water, don’t worry. Consider putting out little pots or jars of water on your balcony or window ledge, as this will allow birds to have easy access to water where it might otherwise be hard to find.
Some animals, such as bats, cannot be removed because they are an endangered species. In these cases, do not try to remove the animals yourself. You could end up hurting them or yourself, and break the law in the process. If you find a bat in your home, call the National Bat Helpline for advice on how to manage your situation. You can find out if any creatures in your home are endangered and in need of professional management through different UK wildlife charity websites online, such as The Wildlife Trust.
A quarter of British Wildlife is at risk of extinction, so it is really important that anyone who can do their part to help wild creatures tries to. Additionally, with more people working from home than before, gardens have become a desired asset for property buyers. That being said, there are many reasons a person might not want wildlife in their garden. They may want to protect their pets, plants, or even the wildlife itself from dangers in their garden. Whatever your situation may be, as long as you can handle it humanely, hopefully this helpful guide has opened your eyes to some things you can consider for your outside space.
- Green Property: Make Your Move Eco-Friendly: https://www.whitehorsesurveyors.co.uk/looking-after-your-home/green-property-make-your-move-environmentally-friendly/
- Make Your Home Eco-Friendly on a Budget: https://www.whitehorsesurveyors.co.uk/looking-after-your-home/make-your-home-eco-friendly-on-a-budget/
- 10 Things to Look Out for in the Garden When House-Hunting: https://www.whitehorsesurveyors.co.uk/gardens/10-things-to-look-out-for-in-the-garden-when-house-hunting/