You can help to encourage wildlife into your garden at any time of year, and there are lots of tips and help online to get your garden into tip-top condition for these natural visitors. Heather Barron picks out some of the best ideas to ‘naturalise’ your garden, regardless of the size.


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At the height of the birds breeding season there are many busy parents looking for food to feed their hungry offspring. Birds need to find food for their young brood quickly and don’t want to be away from them for too long, so having a supply of seeds, mealworms and suitable kitchen leftovers can really help them out.

The RSPB actually sells a third more bird food in June than it does in December. The charity believes the food may be eaten more quickly than in other months because birds see it as a convenience and, just like some busy mums and dads, opt for the easier option to keep their children happy.

Provide nesting boxes around the garden to encourage birds to build nests where you can see the parents flying in with food for the babies.


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It's not just birds that need our help through the year. You can leave out food for hedgehogs too, such as tinned dog or cat food, crushed biscuits, or specialist hedgehog food which can brought from the RSPB’s online shop. Never give hedgehogs milk as it can cause stomach problems.

Did you know that hedgehogs need to walk a mile or more in a night looking for food and a mate? Sadly, our gardens are too often little high-sided boxes. You can help by creating safe corridors from your garden to the one next door. This is a great activity to do with your neighbours to connect your gardens.


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You can plant insect-friendly flowers, so butterflies, bees and other insects can thrive. Honeysuckle, dahlia and cornflower are among those that are attractive to look at and nectar-rich for insects.


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Build a bug house! It’s very simple and will house a variety of different bugs and insects right through the year. You could even include a hedgehog house.


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Create an underground den where frogs, toads and newts can find safe lodging through the winter's chill.

Amphibians like to hibernate in a cool (but not cold), dark and damp shelter, safely away from predators. Some frogs use the mud at the bottom of ponds, but many amphibians spend the winter on land. They do like to get a little way underground if they can, so give them a helping hand by creating their very own mansion, full of cavities galore.

They’ll be able to sleep through winter’s worst excesses and emerge, refreshed and ready to go for a hectic spring of mating and spawning. Look out for them on a warm, damp spring evening and you may see one of the inhabitants coming out and heading off to look for love.


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Grow a wildflower meadow, and create a lively feeding and nesting ground for insects, birds and small animals.

The majestic flowers and grasses, bursting with colour, will be an attractive feature in your garden.

Our countryside was once full of meadows bursting with a gorgeous variety of flowering plants, supporting butterflies, insects, farmland birds and other wildlife.

But since the 1930s, we have lost more than 99 per cent of what are called 'unimproved grasslands', and those that are left are fragmented. However, you can create something of the same feel in your own garden.

Preparing the ground and removing the weeds may take several weeks, and you can do this at any time of year. But autumn is the best month for sowing your seeds.


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There's something enchanting about sitting next to a large garden pond, and it's amazing how quickly wildlife will find it.

Yes, they are a challenge to make, and aren't cheap, but they will repay you massively.

In summer, it should be only a short matter of weeks before pond skaters and water beetles arrive under cover of darkness. You might get dragonflies and damselflies in your first season, with frogs and newts likely within a year.

Don't be put off by flushes of algae, which are either stringy or turn the water green or brown – that's normal in a new pond.

You can build a pond at any time of year, but in autumn the ground isn't too wet or dry, so it's ideal for digging.


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Just because they come out at night, don’t forget to ensure that your garden is bat-friendly. It’s lovely sitting out on a warm summer’s night watching these little nocturnal creatures flitting back and forth in the dusk sky.

You might not have realised how closely they live to us, so your garden can be a source of water, food and shelter for them. Bats are a sign of a green and healthy environment, so creating a garden that's good for bats will also be good for people.

Follow these simple steps and turn your garden into a bat haven:

•             Plant night-scented flowers

•             Build a pond

•             Let your garden go a little wild

•             Put up a bat box 

•             Create linear features i.e hedgerows/treelines

•             Reduce or remove artificial lighting

•             Keep cats indoors at night

You can invest in a bat detector which can help you identify the species you have attracted to your garden.