Many beneficial garden insects, such as ladybugs and ground beetles, struggle to find habitats in our neat gardens. Consider creating a wildlife wall to lure them in and keep them happy. It creates perfect homes for many different species, and its textures and patterns make it an attractive garden feature.
When to make: Spring or summer.
At their best: Winter.
Time to complete: 4 hours.
You will need: Sedum or Sempervivum plants, bricks (with holes in them), small blocks of wood, drilled with different sized holes, roof tiles, sheets of plywood or planks of wood, straw, corrugated cardboard, slate chippings, bamboo canes, clumps of moss, twigs, soil.
Construct the wall
In a quiet area of the garden, make a layer of bricks and tiles, leaving plenty of gaps. Place plywood or planks of wood on top and then add another layer of bricks and tiles. Top the structure off with the roof tiles, to keep excess moisture out.
Stuff the gaps
Cut the bamboo canes into short lengths and pack them into gaps to make homes for solitary bees. Roll up corrugated cardboard to create laying sites for ladybirds. Moss, slate chippings, straw and twigs pushed into the other holes will be colonized by many different garden insects. Plant the top with Sedum or Sempervivum to create a living roof.
Your wildlife wall, once built, should be left alone; the more established (and decrepit) it becomes, the better it will be for wildlife, so don’t be tempted to disturb it. However, you may need to occasionally restore some of the materials, particularly those such as straw that may be taken away as nest-building materials by birds.
Make a dead hedge
This is a simple way to make a wildlife-friendly corner from vines and twigs that cannot be composted. Small birds and insects will love it for shelter and food.
Use strong, long-lasting chestnut poles for the uprights, hammering them securely into the ground. For a neater look, use lengths of willow to weave loose sides. Then simply pile in shrub trimmings, lengths of ivy and bramble, and any other twigs the garden produces. Eventually, they will rot or compact down, and you can then add more to the top.
Tips: Create a log home
A pile of old logs in the garden will attract beetles, frogs, toads, and other wildlife. Make a well-constructed pile, supported by a few posts hammered into the ground to prevent rolling. Leave the logs to rot down.