Whether you have a balcony or a large garden, here are 5 steps to help make your garden as attractive as possible to wildlife, and with a range of build your own designs, children can become more involved:
1. Food glorious food
Birds spend most of their waking hours on the hunt for food, and the best way to attract them to your garden is to put out a variety of natural, nutritious feeding options. they will take advantage all year round - and the wider the variety of foods you provide, the more species you're likely to attract. See our information on what foods are best for birds.
2. Essential water
Water is an absolute must for any bird, not only for drinking but also to keep their plumage in the best condition possible. This is particularly important during spells of very cold weather, when natural sources of water may be frozen. Or install a shallow sided garden pond to attract everything from insects and amphibians to birds and even mammals like Hedgehogs.
3. Give a home to nature
Shelter is essential for wildlife to survive. Evergreen trees, such as conifers, thick bushes and hedges are ideal natural sources of shelter and will be readily used by numerous birds. For smaller species, mature ivy growing against a house wall can also provide a welcome resting space. If your garden lacks natural shelter, you can still give options to birds by installing nest boxes. As well as providing birds with a place to raise their young in spring, nest boxes will be used to take refuge from the winter weather.
For other wildlife, consider a hedgehog house, insect habitat or frog and toad abode to help provide safety and shelter in your garden.
4. Planting for wildlife
The plants and flowers in your garden have a big bearing on how attractive to wildlife it is. Plants for pollinating insects will encourage a natural food chain to support lots of different wildlife from tiny bugs to mammals and birds and turn your garden into a wildlife haven.
5. Go wild
Nature thrives on disorder. To really make your garden wildlife-friendly, be prepared to let at least part of it go wild. Set aside one corner of the garden and let things run their natural course. Allow the grass and wild flowers to grow, let logs and leaves pile up and you might be surprised at how quickly nature takes hold.