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Introduction to wildlife gardening

We can all lend a hand to our local wildlife by making small changes to the way we manage our gardens. Planting more trees and shrubs, making a log pile, digging a small pond and leaving areas of long grass can all make a big difference.

Why are wildlife gardens important?

  • We have over 270,000 hectares of gardens in the UK, that's more than all the National Nature Reserves put together. Collectively we can make a real difference if we garden with wildlife in mind.
  • Some declining species are particularly well suited to gardens and are becoming more reliant on them. These include house sparrows, bumble bees, frogs, pipistrelle bats and hedgehogs.
  • Gardens are often linked to other areas of habitat such as grass verges, school grounds, parks and churchyards. This habitat network is important in allowing species to move around in response to climate change.
  • We can manage our gardens in sustainable ways by harvesting rainwater, going peat-free and by composting.
  • Gardens are a great place for us to get close to and inspired by wildlife.

Threats to gardens

Housing targets, which class gardens as brownfield land, have made them vulnerable to development leading to a loss of valuable habitat. Front gardens also continue to be converted to driveways with consequent impact on wildlife and rainwater run-off.

A national campaign 'Let our Gardens Live' has been launched to highlight these issues.

What you can do

Even simple changes to the way you manage you garden can have a big positive impact. There are lots of tips on how to garden for wildlife on the Wild About Gardens project website. Wild About Gardens is a joint project of The Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Horticultural Society.

Our Wildlife Information Service (WIS) responds to many garden-based queries.