Creating wildlife-friendly spaces in affordable, accessible ways

Here are ways you can help wildlife, whether you have a windowsill or large garden! 

22nd April 2024

Creating wildlife-friendly spaces in affordable, accessible ways

We know that creating nature- and wildlife-friendly spaces can feel like a daunting task, especially when you don’t have a garden or you’re not sure where to begin. Here are ways you can help, whether you have a windowsill or large garden!  

Top tip: To make sure your outdoor space is safe for your pets, visit our article about attracting wildlife to your garden safely as a pet owner.

If you have windowsill space only

We believe you shouldn’t miss out on the joy of nature, just because you don’t have a garden. So, the following ideas could help you transform your windowsills or balconies, with a little wildlife-friendly magic!

Grow flowers in a window box

Planting pollinator-friendly flowers in a window box could attract an array of beautiful butterflies and bees to your windowsill. You may even invite pest-control insects like ladybirds and marmalade hoverflies as well. If more insects visit your window box, they’re likely to attract some special winged visitors, too.

Create a mini herb garden on a windowsill

Creating a windowsill herb garden is the perfect activity for those who aren’t natural gardeners. By growing herbs, you’re not only providing yourself with homegrown, tasty flavours for cooking with, you’ll also be attracting pollinators and other insects – whose all play a vital role in creating biodiversity

Put up a DIY bird feeder 

Making a bird feeder using items from around your home is an amazing way to honour the environment while caring for wildlife! For inspiration, check out the RSPB’s guide to easy homemade bird feeders

Not only that, if your window feeder can be safely and securely placed out of paws-reach, it could create a safe space for birds while also providing an indoor cat with hours of entertainment and all-important stimulation. 

If you have balcony or other small outside space

Although you may not realise it, your balcony – or other small outside area around your home (e.g. tiny concrete courtyard) – could become a haven for wildlife. Create a cosy space for wildlife, and be inspired by the following ideas:     

Reduce artificial outdoor lighting

To avoid confusing bats when artificial lighting prevents them from seeing clearly, it’s beneficial to limit the number of outdoor lights around your property. Choosing movement-triggered lighting, instead of lights that need to be switched off, can support bats to navigate safely around obstacles as they catch insects in the dark.

Use pots for pollinator-friendly flowers

Get creative and opt for decorative pots for walls and floors to plant your pollinator-friendly flowers (see our article about helping wildlife in the summer for flower inspiration). Allow your outside space to reflect your uniqueness and let your creativity flow, by selecting stylish pots or painting them yourself!

Put up a DIY nestbox 

Since natural nesting sites are disappearing daily, setting up a nesting box for wild birds is a valuable contribution to caring for nature. See this guide to building a bird box by The Wildlife Trusts for motivation

If you have a paved or gravel garden and/or artificial grass

Despite popular belief, artificial grass can benefit nature in some ways, e.g. it allows you to plant trees or shrubs without worrying about restricting sunlight exposure to real grass. Also, a paved or gravel garden holds plenty of potential as a wildlife-friendly space!

Create a wood pile

Find somewhere damp and dark in an unused corner of your garden to set up a pile of dead wood and sticks. A wood pile provides many insects with a place to call home, and in return, contributes to your garden’s very own ecosystem.

Set up a wildlife café 

You can feed wildlife whether you have a quaint gravel garden or vast acres of land!

Make a hedgehog highway

Since you’re already providing food for wildlife, why not create a hedgehog highway, too? That’ll make it easier for super-cute hedgehogs to travel between gardens and find the feast you’ve laid out for them! 

Hedgehogs are vital for our garden ecosystems, because they maintain the balance of biodiversity by eating insects that damage important plants, e.g. pollinator-friendly flowers. 

If you have a medium-sized garden with a lawn

Medium-sized gardens offer so much scope for developing wildlife-friendly spaces. Check out our top three ideas for turning your medium-sized garden into a sanctuary of nature – for both you and the wildlife who visit your garden:

Mow the lawn less often

This method of creating a wildlife-friendly space involves not taking action at all! Letting your lawn grow wild can offer a wonderful environment for all manner of species, including pollinators.

Provided they’re allowed to grow, wildflowers will offer plenty of nectar – whereas tall grasses can become shelter for insects and create ecosystem-friendly microclimates. Plus, by not using a strimmer or lawnmower, you’re eliminating the risk of that machinery injuring hedgehogs and frogs.   

Create a DIY mini pond

All it takes to create a glorious mini pond is a washing-up bowl, large plant pot, or unused sink, a little digging, some stones, and rainwater – then voila! Your amazing mini pond will offer an ideal environment for amphibians, insects, and birds. 

Add sheltered spaces for wildlife

Adding sheltered spaces in your garden could help wildlife cope through our ever-changing weather conditions, here in the UK. Our top four ideas for wildlife-friendly shelters include a nestbox, bug hotel, a butterfly house, and a hedgehog house

If you have a large garden with a lawn, trees and/or shrubs

Your large garden might already be helping nature and wildlife, however, here are some ideas to take it to the next level:

Plant trees and/or hedges

If your garden is big enough, planting trees and/or hedgerows can provide several species with safe habitats in which to feed, nest, and hide from predators. Though if you have pets, it’s essential to double-check any trees or hedgerow shrubs are safe before planting! 

Hedgerows are essential for biodiversity because they clean the air we breathe, reduce the risk of flooding, and provide a home to many species of wildlife. Sadly, around 118,000 miles’ worth of hedgerows have disappeared from the UK since 1950. Even one small hedge can make the world of difference to your local ecosystem. 

Create a mini meadow in a quiet corner

Setting aside a small section of your garden and allowing it to grow naturally, with wildflowers and meadow grasses, will provide a precious patch of paradise for local wildlife.   

Establish a pond

Depending on the size of your garden (and budget!), there’s an endless array of pond styles that offer the perfect balance between wildlife-friendly habitat and calming oasis. 

As you can see, even the smallest of steps will pave a path to a wildlife-friendly future. We’d love to see how you’ve created a wildlife-friendly space – share your story with us via Facebook or Instagram!