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Give nature a home at home


Always try and make your outdoor living space appealing and safe if you are looking to attract nature to live there. Here are some of the things you can do to make your garden or outdoor space more appealing.

What can you do


Create a hedgehog highway


Hedgehogs are easily one of the nation’s favourite mammals, but it is estimated that hedgehog numbers have declined by 98% since the 1950s – they desperately need our help. One way to help our beloved hedgehogs is to make a hedgehog highway through fenced gardens in your neighbourhood. Working with your neighbours you could create a clear pathway for your local hedgehog population so they don’t get stuck in urban gardens! Hedgehogs can travel upwards of one mile per night, so having the ability to travel freely through our gardens hugely helps them go about their nightly business.


Introduce bird boxes (RSPB)

Bird Boxes should:
• be robust, as they are out in all weathers and need to be strong and fit for purpose
• be waterproof, as they need to be treated with a water-based preservative
• have the correct hole-size – if they are too large, predators will easily get inside and rain and wind will get into the box
• be safe, and have no dangerous sharp edges, protruding nails or staples, or unnecessary fixtures or small gaps to harm or trap birds
• have good insulation – wood or woodcrete is usually the best material
• have no perches – these can allow access to predators

They should not:
• be brightly coloured – the more inconspicuous the better
• be made from flimsy material, as many boxes fall apart when weight is put inside
• be too shallow, as young birds could leave prematurely by falling out
• be too deep, as young birds may have problems getting out when they are ready to fledge
• be too smooth on the inside, as slippery material will also make it difficult for young birds to get out
• have gaps, as rain and cold air will get in and cause young birds to get cold and damp




Introduce a bug hotel (Plantura)

Insect protection in your own garden? A bug hotel is a useful way to support numerous beneficial insects in the garden.

An insect, bug or bee hotel is something most gardeners have seen before. But many ask themselves the question: how does an insect hotel actually work? In fact, the insect house has several uses. On the one hand, it serves as a shelter for various species of insects. However, reproduction is one of the main tasks of the bug hotel. The various materials of the insect nesting aid replicate natural shelters, which are normally used by insects as breeding burrows. Thus, the beneficial bug hotel is primarily a nesting aid for insects, as known, for example, from nesting boxes for birds. However, some bug hotel inhabitants also use them as hibernation aids.



Let the grass grow

Letting your grass grow (or maybe a corner) not only encourages wildflower growth, but also helps protect the wildlife that calls your garden “home”. Frogs, newts, dormice and slow worms are just some of the smaller animals that could be harmed by mowing your lawn. Having longer grass allows for a better shelter for creepy crawlies and provides habitats for amphibians and small mammals. 


Serve an extra meal (Woodland trust)

One of the best ways to persuade a plethora of wildlife to your patch is to give them access to an easy meal.

A simple option is to put out nuts and seeds to attract common birds including goldfinch, blue tit, sparrow, blackbird and robin.

If you’ve set your sights on something a little less common, putting out a specially-tailored snack could be rewarding for you and your visitors! You could try leaving mealworms for badgers, fruit for foxes, or wet cat food or specialist kibble for hedgehogs.

Putting out extra food for wildlife can be a huge help for them, especially in harsh weather. But wildlife should not come to depend on humans as their only food source, so tempting as it may be, don’t feed too often. And be sure to keep an eye on who is eating your food to check you’re not just supplementing the diet of next door’s cat! 

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