Gardening for wildlife

Bracknell Forest Borough has a rich and diverse landscape, containing a wide range of habitats that support a variety of plants and animals.

One of the best ways to help conserve local wildlife is to make your garden more wildlife friendly. This page offers advice on some easy ways for you to help make this happen.

If all the gardens in the UK were wildlife friendly they would amount to an area more than double that of all the National Nature Reserves put together!

Make your garden more wildlife friendly

Go organic

Chemicals can kill beneficial insects and have the potential to kill your garden birds.

Avoid using peat based compost as this destroys natural habitats elsewhere.

Create your own compost heap to provide you with organic compost for free.

Go native

Instead of cultivated plants, try to use native species as these will attract more wildlife.

Visit the Wildlife Gardener website for advice on which plants to choose to attract wildlife to your garden.

Variety is the spice of life

By designing your garden to include a wide range of plants and habitats, you will provide food and conditions for a greater diversity of wildlife.

Leave untidy areas

You don’t have to put up with nettles everywhere but even a small patch left untouched in the corner of your garden can provide a haven for wildlife.

Go wild in your garden

Creating a wildlife garden is an excellent way to help conserve your local wildlife.

Helping your wildlife may be rewarding in more ways than you might think.

Put up a bird box

Try some of the more unusual bird box designs to attract a greater variety of species. You could also consider putting up a bat box or make a home for bees by hanging up a bunch of cut bamboo or a piece of wood with holes drilled in it.


Building your own nest box can be fun and educational for adults and children alike. Birds are also excellent pest predators and by attracting them to your garden, you can help protect your plants.

Create a wildflower meadow or flowering lawn

You can buy wildflower seeds from a native seed supplier or garden centre.

Alternatively you can convert part of your lawn by only cutting it once a year in autumn.


Wildflower meadows not only look attractive but also attract pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies.

Dig a wildlife pond

A pond of any size can support a wealth of wildlife and attract birds and mammals to your
garden. Create shallow edges with a gradual slope allowing small animals to reach the water. Avoid having fish as they will eat most other life. Think about introducing some native water plants, and you could choose to create a bog garden as well.


Ponds attract a wide range of wildlife, such as frogs, newts, hedgehogs and birds. Many of these species will eat common garden pests.

Put up a swift box

Ideal sites are under eaves or on walls facing north to north east. Because swifts need height to take off, the box must be placed at least 5 metres above ground level.


Swifts spend most of their life in the air, stopping only to breed. Installing a swift box is one of the only ways to get a close­ up view of these acrobatic birds.

Use a compost heap

Compost heaps provide an ideal habitat for many insects who break down the green waste. These insects are also a food source for birds and other wildlife. Be sure to check your compost heap for sleeping wildlife such as hedgehogs and toads before using the compost.


A compost heap will not only provide you with organic compost for free but will also help you to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in your bin.

Make a log pile for stag beetles

By placing your logs in an undisturbed area of your garden you may attract stag beetles to the warm, damp conditions.

Use a mixture of wood types, avoid treated wood and leave the bark on.


Undisturbed log piles also attract hedgehogs and slow worms, both of which eat slugs.

Plant a native hedgerow

Hedgerows provide food and shelter for a variety of species including birds and small mammals such as hedgehogs, voles and shrews.

Use native species such as buckthorn, wild service tree, dog rose, hazel, hawthorn and holly (which provides evergreen winter shelter for roosting birds).


Hedgerows attract a wide range of wildlife including natural predators such as lacewings and ladybirds.

Green up your walls with climbers

Covering a wall or fence with plants provides shelter and food for insects and birds who may even nest there. Ivy is particularly valuable as it produces fruit and flowers late in the year and will not damage walls that are in good repair.


Climbing plants can help to make a plain wall structure more attractive.

Install a water butt

Water butts allow you to collect the rainwater that falls on your roof.


Provides a natural source of water which you can use in your garden. It will also help protect wetland habitats elsewhere and reduce flooding of urban areas.

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