Published On: Tue, Jan 27th, 2015

Why Wildlife Gardens Are Altering the Urban Landscape

While you might think you need to visit the countryside to see an interesting variety of wildlife, you’d be surprised at what kind of visitors you could expect in your own garden. Not only are wildlife gardens encouraged amongst many community groups looking to improve the natural beauty of their area, a well-kept garden also has a proven popularity-record amongst property shoppers. Here’s why this new phenomenon is important and how you can get involved.

Wildlife Gardens

Why Is It Important

Contrary to popular belief, a seemingly green countryside isn’t necessarily the best habitat for wildlife. Much of the UK’s countryside fields are now fertilised for farming. Wetlands, too are becoming increasingly drained, while conifers and broadleaves covering the moorlands make it difficult for light to reach the floor, inhibiting the development of natural growth. Many now urban environments, whether cities or towns, offer space through public parks or industrial wasteland. This is all connected by an interwoven series of potentially fruitful habitats such as canals, rivers, and even railway embankments

Often the richest parts of any ecosystem are occur on the edges. Edge effects refers to when two types of environments meet. At the boundary of this change, plants, like shrubs or vines, that are intolerant to shade or dry conditions flourish as do animals, like robins or blue-jays, that require two or more types of habitats. However, the individuality of each household means we can see elements of this in urban environments. Neighbouring gardens are often very different, as people grow different vegetables and plants, or set up a lawn for the kids to play. All of this adds much needed ecological diversity that is needed if you want to see a variety of wildlife flourish.

How Can You Get Involved

Soil – make sure you allow your soil time to settle to increase populations of earthworms and types of invertebrates. These might not be the types of visitors you’re looking for, but without them blackbirds and robins won’t have much of a reason to visit. Lay compost on top of the soil and try not to disturb it unless you’re planting.

Ponds – a pond is one of the best ways to attract an array of wildlife to your garden. A shallow pool of water will provide a safer home to tadpoles, but if you have the space for something larger you can expect to see newts and dragonflies.

Hedges – try to avoid trimming your hedges until the winter as this can disturb any birds nesting there. Hedges – as well as garden fences and trees – provide many creatures with much needed shade or a form of shelter and are an important part of a wildlife garden.

Do you have any experience with urban wildlife gardens? Let us know about your experiences on Facebook or Twitter.