Q. How can I turn my tiny front garden into a wildlife haven?

Make more space for nature with these clever ideas, says Louisa Gilhooly

A garden for pollinators

by Louisa Gilhooly |

YOU DON’T NEED a rural idyll and acres of land to create a green space that’s wildlife friendly. Nor does a wildlife garden need to look a bit scruffy and unkempt. This design proves you can keep both the neighbours and wildlife happy in even the smallest of front gardens, combining nectar-rich plants, food sources and shelter to create a micro-habitat that’s very easy on the eye.

The design is based on the golden ratio, a mathematical ratio commonly found in natural patterns such as the spiral arrangements of succulent leaves, snail shells and sunflower seeds. These patterns are not only pleasing to the human eye, but can also create a feeling of balance and harmony.

In this tiny front garden, log piles have been arranged to suggest a broken spiral shape. These support a wide range of flora and fauna, including moss, fungi, lichens, insects and other invertebrates, plus small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds that visit to feed on the insects.

For biodiversity, it’s best to use a wide mix of plants to provide a range of food sources and habitats: for instance, evergreen climbers create a dense layer of shelter and protection all year round and offer the ideal spot for nest-building. Grasses provide seeds for birds to eat in autumn and winter, and last year’s growth can also be used as nesting material in spring.

Choose plants that are long-flowering so they offer plenty of pollen and nectar for a whole host of insects. In a small garden, make the most of your space by fixing bird feeders and nest boxes to the walls of the house or garage.

One final note: front gardens now need to conform to building regulations for hard landscaping known as SuDS (Sustain-able Drainage Systems) and is designed to alleviate problems caused by flash flooding.

So, rather than using non-permeable surfaces (eg pavers and Tarmac), which exacerbate storm water run-off, here, gravel and permeable pavers have been used. As well as allowing water to drain away, these materials are also cheap and easy to install.

Planting plan for pollinator-friendly front garden
Planting plan for pollinator-friendly front garden ©Garden Answers
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