5 Easy Ways to Instantly Boost Your Garden’s Wildlife Potential (Without Breaking the Bank!)

Who doesn’t want a little bit (or a lot) more wildlife around? These 5 ideas are easy, budget-friendly AND look good in your garden. How many will you get done this weekend?

1. Bug Hotel

Bugs live here! Maybe you don’t want them in your own house, but why not give them a home of their own? Bug hotels are almost becoming a garden trend, with many shops now selling pre-made ones. These are particularly handy if you only have a balcony to work with. If you fancy being a bit more D.I.Y. and have the garden space then you can make them yourself. A quick google of “bug hotels” will give you endless inspiration. A simple way to go about it is to use pallets separated by planks of wood. Make sure they’re sturdy and attached together properly. Fill in the gaps with everything from pipes to bricks to sticks or plants.

A baby woodmouse. I woke one morening to find three of these guys exploring my garden, completely undisturbed by my clicking camera.
A baby woodmouse. I woke one morning to find three of these guys exploring my garden, completely undisturbed by my clicking camera.

2. Bird house

This one might take some patience. My bird box was in the garden for three years before the first tenants moved in this summer. Once they did, the blue tit parents provided us with endless enjoyment as we watched them tirelessly dart in and out of the box for weeks. You get great satisfaction from knowing there are little chicks being raised in the home you provided for them. It is vital that you do not get tempted to take a peek into the box. Disturbance can cause the parents to desert the nest. BirdWatch Ireland provide some important information here.

I was lucky to have a family of blue tits in my garden next box this summer. Photo by Rebecca Doyle
I was lucky to have a family of blue tits in my garden next box this summer. Photo by Rebecca Doyle

3. Bat box

There’s nothing like watching bats swooping over your garden in the evenings. Not only are they cool to watch, but they carry out an important ecosystem service- insect control. Bats can eat hundreds of insects a night. Ireland’s 9 resident bat species are all insectivorous. It’s not just rural areas that are home to bats. I’ve seen them in many urban areas, from Dundrum to Inchicore. Bat Conservation Ireland provide some good advice on bat boxes including building your own here.

One of our most common and friendlist garden birds. Photo by Rebecca Doyle
One of our most common and friendlist garden birds. Photo by Rebecca Doyle

4. Hedgehog holes

If you have a garden fence this one is for you. Back when hedges were still a common occurrence in suburban gardens hedgehogs could pass freely between gardens on their nightly rambles. Walls and fencing can obstruct their routes. This is a problem as hedgehogs need to roam at night to find food and mating partners. Hedgehogs eat a number of creatures found in the garden, including slugs, snails and worms. You can read more about hedgehog holes in fencing and walls here.

Food preferences can differ between ladybird species but most eat aphids (for example greenflies) and so are a friend of gardeners.
Food preferences can differ between ladybird species but most eat aphids (for example greenflies) and so are a friend of gardeners.

5. Native flowers

Who doesn’t want flowers in their garden? This is another one that can work for balconies too. If you have a bigger area where you can create a wildflower-meadow type area, even better! Our pollinator species are in trouble. Pesticides and habitat loss are just some of the obstacles that our bees and butterflies are facing. Pollinator species are important for many reasons, including our environment, the economy and health. Flowers such as dandelion, clovers, lavender and Birds-foot trefoil are all great flowering food sources.

A green-veined white butterfly, common throughout Ireland
A green-veined white butterfly, common throughout Ireland

Don’t forget to let us know in the comment box below the article if you have any quick and easy tips to support garden wildlife! We know there’s plenty more to add!

Rebecca Doyle
About Rebecca Doyle 13 Articles
Rebecca is communications coordinator and a contributor at BioWeb.ie, with a B.Sc. zoology and M.Sc. wildlife conservation and management. Experience includes working with the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, Native Woodland Trust, Marine Dimensions and SeaLife. Passionate about wildlife conservation and community involvement.

5 Comments on 5 Easy Ways to Instantly Boost Your Garden’s Wildlife Potential (Without Breaking the Bank!)

  1. A simle water tray is excellent as the birds need to drink & bathe. It’s lovely to watch them splashing about from your window!

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