How to Rewild your Outside Space!
You may have heard of the term rewilding recently as we become more conscious of the damage we have done to our environment. But what actually does it mean? Rewilding is the process of making our outside spaces more attractive to nature and wild creatures by going back to the more traditional features of meadows and less well manicured gardens that wildlife love. We all know the pressures of society expecting neatly mowed lawns and not a single weed allowed anywhere in site. But have you ever stopped to think about how this damages nature? The UK in the past, was much more of a haven for wildlife with more forests and flourishing meadows before urban expansion began to creep ever outwards. So what can we do in our outside spaces to help restore these lost ecosystems? Read on for some ideas.
1, Ditch the chemicals! We all seem to loath weeds in this country and can’t wait to run out to our garden bottle of weed killer in hand to get rid of those pesky weeds! However, the chemicals in weed killers are very toxic and can get washed back into the soil. They can also kill more than just the weeds such as microbes, fungi and insects.
2, Stop mowing the lawn! We seem a little obsessed with mowing our lawns in this country and it seems to be ingrained in our culture. For nature though, neat lawns offer little benefits at all. Before you get the lawnmower out maybe think about how the lawn would look if you didn’t mow it. Would it be so bad?! A lawn with tall grass and wildflowers can be a beautiful site to both us and to the insects, butterflies, bees, and birds, that live off and in it.
3, Grow plants and flowers that attract wildlife! Think about planting wild flowers, shrubs such as buddleia (sometimes known as a Butterfly Bush) and other flowering plants that attract insects. There is an ever-growing collection of information online about which plants are suitable for your space and what the benefits are for wildlife.
4, Grow native plants! It is always best to only grow what is native to the area, or at least closely related species. Local plants provide the most nutrition and best benefits for local wildlife, and they will thrive under the soil conditions that are present in the area.
5, Create a compost bin! Natural compost is great for the soil and for planting in pots and borders. Instead of going out and buying a bag from the local garden centre you consider making your own. You can buy or make a cheap compost bin and fill it with all the offcuts of trimmed plants, leaves, and also vegetable food waste from the kitchen.
6, Make a log pile! We’ve all seen logpiles in forests, where collections of twigs, branches and leaves lay all piled up on the ground. If you’ve ever had a look inside any of these piles you would see an amazing collection of insects and fungi living inside. If you have a corner of the garden tucked out of the way, consider piling up the old branches when you’ve been trimming trees and shrubs to create one of these little ecosystems at home.
7, Build a pond! If you have an area large enough, consider installing a pond or water feature. They can provide a great habitat for a variety of amphibians and invertebrates. It’s also a source of water for small mammals and birds. You can start by creating your pond with as little as a bucket and a few aquatic plants.
8, Install feeders and bird boxes! Encourage birds into your garden with feeders, bird baths and boxes to nest in. You could also install a bug box or bug hotel where native insects can lay their eggs. If you’re in an area with hedgehogs, you could also consider installing a hedgehog hut. All these can be bought relatively cheaply online or can be made at home for DIY confident!
To sum up… every action of ours can have an impact on the natural world beyond our garden. We hope that our above tips help you to not just minimise your negative impact on the planet, but foster your connection with nature!
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