July 21st, 2022
5 easy tips for rewilding your garden
“Rewilding” is a term you may have seen more and more in recent years. Referring to the nurturing of nature in both communal spaces and private gardens, rewilding can be an eco-friendly way to manage the land attached to your property, no matter how big or small.
If you have spent years investing in landscaping through professional gardeners, you may be reluctant to let your garden “grow wild”. However, rewilding doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing project: you can rewild sections of your garden while maintaining the aesthetic you want for your home.
Here are five easy tips for rewilding your garden this summer.
1. Nurture what already grows in your garden
One thing that might intimidate first-time rewilders is the idea of starting from scratch. You might feel overwhelmed by the idea of a big project, leading you to avoid starting the rewilding process altogether.
In fact, you don’t have to dig up your garden and start again when you take on a rewilding project. Instead, you can nurture the plants and animals that already exist there.
For example, if you have a specific species of tree growing in your garden, research what type of animals can thrive in that environment, and nurture those. Rewilding isn’t about starting all over again – it’s about encouraging what already exists in your garden space.
2. Cut out unnatural fertilisers and pesticides
Chemical fertilisers and pesticides have become commonplace in everyday gardening – but in fact, they can be corrosive to the rewilding process. If you want your garden to return to nature, it’s time to cut out the chemicals and find holistic alternatives.
For example, if you routinely put down slug pellets on your plants to stop them being eaten by your garden’s slimy residents, you can use sheep’s wool as a natural slug repellent. By placing sheep’s wool around the roots of the plants, you can keep slugs at bay without exposing your wildlife to harmful chemicals.
3. Stop pulling up “weeds”
There are certain plants that we all know as “weeds”, but these species can actually help promote biodiversity in your garden.
Nettles, for example, are a constant battle for avid gardeners who want their outdoor space to look pristine. However, nettles attract a vast array of important wildlife: ladybirds come to eat the aphids that sit on their leaves, caterpillars eat them to ensure their full development into butterflies, and birds feast on their seeds too.
One of the easiest ways to begin rewilding your garden is to stop considering certain plants as “weeds” and begin embracing the natural flora and fauna of your garden’s environment.
4. Make your garden an ideal home for endangered wildlife, like hedgehogs
If you are able to make modifications to the structure of your garden, small changes can make a big difference to wildlife – especially endangered species.
Consider the hedgehog: once a thriving species in the UK, now their population is in decline. According to the Natural History Museum, around 167,000 hedgehogs are killed on UK roads every year. What’s more, this research estimates that in the last 20 years, the hedgehog population of the UK has decreased by between 33% and 77%.
During the rewilding process, you may have the opportunity to help welcome hedgehogs into your garden, giving them a safe space to eat, drink, hibernate, and breed.
By working with your neighbours, you can make small holes in your surrounding fences, known as a “hedgehog highway”. Suburban fences entrap hedgehogs and prevent them from moving freely through gardens, sometimes causing them to become dehydrated, and preventing them from finding a place to hibernate.
In addition to creating a “hedgehog highway”, you can purchase hedgehog houses, in which you can place food and water to help them thrive. Plus, allowing undergrowth to grow wild can provide a haven for hedgehogs looking for a sheltered place to breed and hibernate.
5. Work with your local council
Rewilding is becoming ever-popular, not just in private gardens, but in public places too. Indeed, Rewilding Britain offers grants of up to £15,000 to local councils around the UK, in order to help them rewild public pathways, parks, and school grounds.
Although you may not be able to access funding for your private rewilding project, your local council might have useful information about:
- The types of wildlife that are native to your area
- Cost-effective ways to start the rewilding process in your garden
- How to hire or borrow gardening equipment for your project
- How to get involved with community rewilding initiatives that might teach you valuable skills for your own garden.
To find out more about whether your local council has received a rewilding grant, it is best to contact them directly.