How to design a garden that’s a haven for wildlife

Design a garden for wildlife Sussex Kent and Surrey

March 7, 2019

Designing a garden that’s a haven for wildlife 

When we’re designing your dream garden there are lots of aspects to take into account, from your lifestyle to topography, from cost-efficiency to noise. One important aspect which is often forgotten is wildlife. With spring upon us, now is a great time to think about ways of inviting nature into your garden 

When you step into your garden, if you feel the natural thrum of life revolving about you, you will automatically feel calmer, connected to a bigger whole and more at peace. From the trees overhead and the grass underfoot, to the blooming flowers and the buzzing insects that pollinate them. Many gardens that we initially encounter are limited in their capabilities to encourage nature to embrace them. Gardens that lack a rich diversity of wildlife can often discourage adventure and exploration, meaning the outdoor space is less likely to be used.  When we design a garden, there are many things we do to encourage the fauna, as well as the flora, to flourish and make you want to get out and revel in the life that pervades your outdoor space.  

Understanding nature 

If you want to encourage wildlife, it can help to understand what factors motivate animals to venture into your garden. The key thing to consider to make this happen is biodiversity; all animals have a certain place in the food web, and if the food of the animal can’t be found in your garden, it’s unlikely that they’ll come to visit. That means that to get the animals you want, you need to encourage other animals in. The base of every food chain is the sun: the sun feeds the plants, the plants feed the insects and the insects feed the bigger animals, from the birds to the hedgehogs to the reptiles; and that is the crux of getting the more interesting animals into your garden – give them what they want, their food. 

Ways to encourage wildlife 

  • Native flowers – Native flowers are great for encouraging insect species because they bloom in synchronisation with native insect lifecycles.  
  • Ponds – Just as all animals need to eat, all animals need to drink. If you don’t have the space in your garden for a pond, then you may want to consider providing water by other means, such as a birdbath or a water dispenser.  
  • HedgesThe loss of hedgerow habitats has been hitting the wildlife section of the news for a number of years. Hedges provide excellent places for birds to nest, for insects to live and for hedgehogs to cosy up. Additionally, many hedges have berries which birds love to eat, and the insects which live in them will encourage their predators to come and visit for their lunch. 
  • Connectivity – The main culprit of loss of wild animal species in modern times is habitat loss and fragmentation. This is when large areas of natural habitat are broken up by human developments. There isn’t much we can do individually to increase habitat area for animals, but one thing that has a proven effect of reducing population loss is creating corridors between habitats. Hedgerows are one such example of a corridor, which birds and bats have been seen to trace as they fly from place to place. Hedgehog street is a campaign that encourages people to make 13cm x 13cm holes in their hedges and fences to allow hedgehogs and other animals to move more freely between gardens.  
  • Hiding places – Many small animals have a natural aversion to open spaces, and so are rarely seen wandering across your neatly trimmed lawn. Keeping small, untidy areas with plenty of cover from rocks or vegetation can help to provide hiding places for animals to curl up and sleep in.  


A pollinator is any animal that moves between plants, fertilising them with pollen they’ve picked up on their journeys, allowing the plants to produce fruit or seeds. Of course, this is an extremely important job; without pollinators, plants wouldn’t be able to reproduce, and without plants, we’d be in big trouble. That’s why it’s important to help pollinators as much as possible.  

Some of the most important pollinators in the UK are bees, which fertilise our crops and wildflowers. Dewlands Garden Design is an active member of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and we do what we can to help bumblebee populations – which have crashed over the past century – to flourish.    

Making a wildlifefriendly garden has a two-fold benefit: it makes your garden a beautiful space that invites and enthrals us when we step outside, but it also means that our native species are looked after and are given the freedom to explore our gardens. That’s why we endeavour to work with our clients to make our garden design projects wildlife friendly, wherever possible. 

To discuss how our garden designs can add value to your home

call 01892 577371 

or send us an email using our online form. 

Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:  

Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill  

Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex  

Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.   

You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.
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