How to rewild your garden with minimal effort and at a low cost to protect wildlife - according to gardening experts

In response to London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, investing £600,000 into revamping London’s green spaces, gardening experts share their tips for how to rewild your garden with minimal effort and low cost.

The experts at Garden Buildings Direct have encouraged gardening homeowners to adopt simple changes to their gardens with a view to help wildlife thrive.

Whether they’re birds or butterflies, badgers or bees, there is a corner for every animal in the garden and gardening enthusiasts can utilise their skills to help wildlife thrive, not just survive.

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Offering them water, food and shelter in various ways throughout your garden will attract a wide variety of living creatures and this can be done with little effort and low cost.

Rewilding your garden can attract animals and creatures of all sizes - even hedgehogs. (Pic credit: Garden Buildings Direct)

Liz Broadbent, company director and lead planting designer at the Harrogate-based bespoke gardening service, Garden Wild, believes that there is an increasing need for giving some of our urban spaces to wildlife as more countryside is being lost to monoculture agriculture.

As such, it is important that we know the best ways to design our gardens in favour of wildlife and the environment.

Her top tips for rewilding with minimal effort and low cost are:

1. Get planting

If you can find space and plant a woodland or create a wildflower meadow, you should cease this opportunity.

However, if your garden is small, this shouldn’t deter you. You can dig up some of the lawn, create a naturalistic border full of perennials and grasses that attract wildlife.

Liz suggests buying 9cm pots to keep the costs low and a naturalistic border is easy to maintain once it has been established and will only need cutting back once a year.

2. Leave your garden a little bit messy over the winter

“It can be tempting to cut everything back in autumn and be super tidy, but remember those seed heads on your grasses and perennials and the hips on your roses not only look fabulous in the frost, but are an important food source for birds,” Liz said.

“Relax and wait until early spring to do your cutting back.”

3. Let the grass grow

According to Liz, a mixture of short and long grass grains is so important for species diversity.

If you have the space, leave a section to revert to scrubland or woodland, if you have a smaller garden, then simply let some areas of your lawn grow.

Liz says that you can even plant some perennial pollinators into the grass to achieve a wild look and attract insects. This gives you less time to mow and more time to enjoy your garden.

4. Build a wildlife pond

This is potentially the most wildlife friendly habitat you can create to help living creatures to thrive in nature.

Make sure you leave a shallow end for animals to climb in and out of and make it accessible by leaving access holes in your fences or tunnels underneath.

5. Take a walk in nature for inspiration

Another idea to fully enrich your mind is to look around you at the environment and see what has already been designed naturally. This is free and involves no effort whatsoever.

Experts from Garden Buildings Direct have also compiled a list of tips for how to rewild your garden.

Offer a snack

Animals are drawn to food and even more so when they don’t have to go through the effort of finding it.

So nuts and seeds are ideal snacks to feed birds or you can be adventurous and find some mealworms for the foxes.

Provide water

Water is very important to keep wildlife thriving, so providing a place to drink or somewhere where they can clean themselves are great ways of getting animals to enjoy your garden space.

By offering them all of the basic necessities, you will make it a safe haven for them to stay in your garden.

A place to stay

To increase your chances of slightly bigger animals coming into your garden, for example hedgehogs, you can provide them with a cosy habitat that will tempt them to stay overnight.

This comes in the form of a small rock garden or a fully formed bird house.

Trees and shrubs

Not only do trees and shrubs provide animals and insects with an optimal habitat to live in but there are also so many health benefits for humans too.

The fruits and leaves are ideal ingredients for food for a range of insects and animals of all kinds and there are plenty of options for gardens of any size.

Compost

This might not attract the most exotic wildlife but composting offers a great home for smaller creatures and fungi.

The organic produce from a composting bin can help take care of the plants and trees in the garden by provoking them with healthy, nutrient-dense soil.

Ms Broadbent said: “UK gardens are becoming one of the most important nature reserves for wildlife. Wildlife gardening has been around for years but has long been the domain of ineffective bug hotels, random log piles and patches of nettles at the bottom of the garden.

“Recent trends in gardening have seen a shift towards rewilding gardens, where planting and design is inspired and led by nature and natural processes. Rewilding captures the essence of our wild plant communities and creates a vital habitat for wildlife.

“A great rewilded garden makes you feel a sense of wonder, as much as you would feel walking through an alpine meadow or an ancient woodland.”

A spokesperson for GardenBuilidngsDirect.co.uk said: “With spring on the horizon, now is the perfect time to get busy in the garden and bring the wildlife back.

“Whether you have a small patch of lawn, a concrete yard, or a balcony, there are plenty of small changes you can make to bring the wild back and have a thriving green space.

“Animals are much like humans in the fact they love food, especially when it’s free! By giving them a small offering of their favourite snacks, it’s like giving them a welcome invitation to your garden.”