How to attract wildlife to your garden: 10 top tips to start your own ‘rewilding’ project

Alan Titchmarsh explores wildlife in Buckingham palace garden

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Making your own garden sanctuary for tweeting birds and pollinating bees is not only great for the environment, but it is also an effortless way to inject some life back into a sleepy winter garden. A recent call to action from Springwatch’s Chris Packham has urged the Royal Family to rewild their hundreds of acres of sprawling gardens, but how can you create a more effortless outdoor space in your own garden?

What is rewilding?

Rewilding has grown to become a buzzword in gardening over recent years.

By definition, it is referred to as a progressive way to nurture your garden by encouraging wild species of plants and animals to visit your outdoor space.

As the UK’s biodiversity crisis worsens, encouraging uncultivated and free-flowing patches of land across the country is just one way that gardeners and environmentalists are working to solve the problem.

Natural landscaping and very minimal maintenance are at the core of this nature-focused concept and there’s plenty of reasons to try it in your own garden.

How to attract wildlife to your garden

Attracting birds, squirrels, pollinators and foxes to your garden may not be for everyone, but if it is, rewilding is one of the best ways to encourage native species to your outdoor space.

With an estimated 22 million Brits having access to a garden, even the smallest of efforts can make a big difference in improving biodiversity across the country.

Letting plants grow and leaving corners undisturbed are just two of the ways that you can encourage wildlife to visit, and the timing couldn’t be better with winter just around the corner.

10 ways to rewild your garden

Letting nature ‘do its thing’ is the key principle of rewilding which means very little needs to actually be done in order to give back to nature.

  1. Let weeds and lawn grow out
  2. Plant a mini meadow using bee bombs in your garden
  3. Mulch, don’t dig
  4. Leave corners of your garden undisturbed
  5. Create a wildlife highway – make holes under garden boundaries for hedgehogs and squirrels (a 13cm x 13cm gap will do)
  6. Reduce hard landscaping
  7. Reduce fencing
  8. Create a log pile
  9. Make a rockery to rewild corners of your garden
  10. Hang bird feeders and bug hotels around your garden – fill regularly with seed mix

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Will rewilding make my garden look messy?

We all love a neat garden – and with more than three million people taking up gardening during lockdown, it’s easy to understand where your fondness of sharp borders and orderly bedding comes from.

Rewilding may seem like you’re letting your garden literally ‘run wild’, but it’s not necessary to abandon your whole garden to nature in order to do some good.

Avoiding scruffiness while taking a walk on the wilder side of gardening is easily done with these simple tricks:

  • Closely mow a strip of grass around the edge of your lawn to create a more purposeful look when leaving it to grow
  • Wait it out – meadows look fantastic in the summer, so accept that rewilding may not look as eye-catching during the winter months
  • Add low growing plants around your lawn

Rewilding spots across the UK

One of the key benefits of rewilding in our gardens is that wildlife has increased areas in which to find food and shelter, and will also increase wildlife in gardens in the UK.

There are plenty of national parks and nature spots which offer idyllic examples of the stunning effects of rewilding.

If you need some inspiration to help you get back to nature in your garden, be sure to take a look or pay a visit to these top spots:

  • River Otter in Devon – Instagram’s most snapped spot
  • River Tay in Scotland
  • Trees for Life, Scottish Highlands
  • Knepp, West Sussex
  • Blean Woods, Kent
  • Mar Lodge, Cairngorms
  • Wild Ennerdale, Cumbria
  • Sheepdrove Organic Farm, West Berkshire
  • Scotland, The Big Picture
  • RSPB Reserves, Nationwide

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