doc

The RSPB has provided a series of tips to gardeners who want to make sure their outside space is as wildlife friendly as possible this summer.

Adrian Thomas works for the RSPB and is the author of the book, Gardening for Wildlife. He said: “Making a few small tweaks and sticking to some simple rules is the best way to ensure your garden is in harmony with nature this summer.”

Top 5 tips for a harmonious garden

1. Give your cat a bell Cats’ natural hunting instincts mean they can be a bit of a threat to garden birds. If you have a pet cat then make sure it wears a collar with a bell attached so birds get an early warning when there’s a predator about.

2. Plants, plants, plants A good rule of thumb is that the more plants you grow, the better it is for wildlife, which is a great excuse to get out there and fill your garden with greenery. Grow flowers in amongst your vegetables, climbers up the walls, and in pots on your patio.

3. Cut out the chemicals Where possible, avoid using chemicals to kill creepy crawlies or weeds. Pesticides can knock vital layers out of the food chain, when there are often much more constructive ways of working with nature to sustain a healthy garden.

4. Store up your water for (the opposite of) a rainy day With all the rain we’ve had lately it may seem odd to suggest storing it up to water your plants with, but only a few months ago many of us were in a drought. Water butts are very environmentally friendly because they collect and store rain water, allowing you to recycle it and give your plants a good drink at the same time.

5. Let hedges be for few more months The main breeding period for garden birds is between 1 March and the end of August, so it's best to avoid cutting trees or hedges during this time so as not to disturb any nests. Conifers can provide nesting sites for a variety of species at this time including blackbirds, robins, greenfinch, goldcrest and even larger birds such as sparrowhawks and crows, so real care needs to be taken during any cutting.

Over 170,000 people have registered for the RSPB’s Homes for Wildlife scheme, a free online service in which you feed in basic information about your garden, generating gardening advice specific to your type of garden.

For more information on how to create the perfect wildlife garden, visit www.rspb.org.uk/homesforwildlife