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Beginner wildlife gardener

Hello Folks :-)

So I'm new to the forum and i'm hoping it can provide me with loads of gardening knowledge as a beginner :-)

me and my partner moved into our first house together 3 years ago and we haven't touched the garden due to focusing so much on the house itself.

I have a passion for wildlife and would love to create a wildlife garden. However, I'm not quite sure where to start. Maybe the first place would be to remove the slabs and chips and put grass down?

I'd love to hear all the things use have done to create a similar garden? I'm not looking for a perfect/tidy garden that requires daily maintenance. It is quite a small garden  (Maybe 12×6 at widest point)


Craig :-)



  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 11,006

    Hi Craig,

    Is it possible to post a photo or 2? Also which way does it face? This will help us to advise re planting etc. Welcome to the forum image

  • Hi, thanks for your reply :-)

    It is a South facing garden. However, I don't get the sun all day in the garden as they built another house infront of it :-) haha

    I'll try taking a snap when the other half takes the washing down as she might go mental it I post pictures of the washing online. Who knows :-)



  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 4,771

    Hi Craig, yes photos and aspect would be useful to help you. Grass is better than paving BUT even better is long grass or wildflower/meadow 'grass', plus loads of nectar-rich plants, particularly natives.

    Think about the pros and cons of grass (children, pets, maintainence, less room for planting etc.).

    For wildlife, a pond and trees will create a wonderful habitats but if this is not practical then think insect hotels, log piles and bird feeders.

    As for plant choices, you will surely receive plenty of ideas on here. Start watching Gardening programmes, internet browsing or looking in books!

    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,531

    Hallo Craig and welcome to the Forum.  You gave the measurements of your garden but no units, is it 12 X 6 metres?

    The most important thing for wildlife is not to use chemical weedkiller or pesticides. Plants with single open faced flowers are best for insects, or else tubular flowers like foxgloves and antirrhinum.  You can increase the growing area if you have walls and fences that you can cover with climbers.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the responses so far :-)

    We have a dog but he doesn't like doing the toilet in the garden. Might change with grass though.

    Yes it would be 12x6 metres.

    We also have wall on 2 of our edges and tall fence on the other.

    Yes I would like to keep the grass long with maybe a cut section down the middle for walking and an area for hanging clothes and access to shed.

    I'd love a pond but the garden is too small I think. I have noticed these wee mini ponds though the size of a basin that might be useful.



  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    Chris Baines book is old and maybe a bit outdated but he does a good job explaining about different habitats that can be created.  Also good to remember that in a small garden, you can't be all habitats.   I also like the  and the RSPB website and they have a garden book that's quite good.

    As far as plants go...I've always felt my garden was too small for teasels but I finally decided I need some so I planted two last year which are in bloom now.  I've  never seen such drunk and happy looking bumblebees.  And then the goldfinches will get the seeds.   I may be regretting it next year when all the seedlings pop up but I can just pull out most (I hope.)

  • Yeah I hate having a small garden :-( lol

    I'm quite into photography too so would like to attract some things I can photograph hopefully. :-)

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,298

    I have some pics on garden design forum taken a couple of weeks ago, have been trying to get a wildflower bit for 3 years, happy to let you have infor of suppliers, I bought 100% wildflower meadow "turf" this month, because |i found with the usual 80% grass,20% flower, the grass wants to take over, although I am happy with the 2 sections I have, dont "improve the soil at all if its stoney gritty under slabs, so much the better.Watery, if you get teasle seedlings, I would love some, happy to pay postage.Come on with those pics craig

  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    Teasel very easy to start from seed.   It's biennial.  May still be time to start some this year to bloom next year.   I got my seed from Wilkos and then one seed per pot and wait until it is quite large (because oddly slugs/snails WILL eat them although prickly) to put it in the ground to overwinter.  Mine survived being eaten by something and another being flattened by us putting up trellis nearby.   I'm guessing I wouldn't see any self-seeded seedling until next year and then they would take another year to bloom. also have them and usually with you within a few days.   

    That would probably be a surer thing.  I just have a feeling that like most self-seeding plants, they will land in the most inhospitable place and can grow there but impossible to get out with roots intact   That's what always happens to my fennel.

    I say this as if I'm an expert but it's my first time with teasel!   We'll see.

  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    Craig,  my garden is about 9 x 12 metres and I have an old bathtub sunk into the ground as my pond.  No one wants to spawn there (so far?) but frogs/newts quite happy to live there.   This time of year you can't see it as it is covered with plants.  At other times, you can tell it's a bathtub but it works.  Large rock for exits and planting baskets on bricks make shallow areas.   Only thing is that the dog finds it more interesting than his paddling pool.

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