Wildlife Garden

Naturalistic Garden

Design and build constraints:
  • Only access to garden was through house
  • Project had to be delayed due to first COVID lockdown
  • Majority of planting needed to be wildlife beneficial, whilst non-toxic to cats
  • Planting for year round interest
  • Minimum number of level changes in garden
The existing garden had an ideal seating area in the back left corner to catch the evening sun. Unfortunately, it wasn’t particularly welcoming as it was overgrown with ivy and under an overhanging conifer. This coupled with an area of slippery, rotten decking was not a space the clients wanted to spend lots of time in.

They were looking to create a naturalistic garden to sit in, whilst sharing the space with any wildlife we could encourage in. In order to future-proof the garden, changes in level needed to be kept to a minimum. Having a pet cat, careful consideration needed to be given to the choice of plants, to be both beneficial to wildlife, and wherever possible, non-toxic to cats.

At the heart of the new garden sits a pond, with water one of the best ways of encouraging wildlife in. The turf was planted with pockets of early flowering Camassia and Fritillaria bulbs and allowed to grow long until the foliage had died right back, and over time hopefully encouraging in further species to create meadow strips.
The plant selection included Buddleja, Geranium, Nepeta, Rosemary, Sedum and Thyme, which offered something for butterflies, honeybees, hoverflies, bee-flies and long-tongued bees. A small tree, Malus ‘Admiration’ was selected for its ability to attract bees, beneficial insects and butterflies with its nectar and pollen rich flowers whilst providing a food source for birds and caterpillars. A Salix gracilistyla ‘Mount Aso’ was positioned next to the pond, and along with Hellebores, these provided a welcome early source of food for queen bumblebees and solitary mining bees.
Two seating areas were built. One was integrated into a dry-stone wall built using Purbeck stone, which in time, would create a home for various inhabitants. The second was a bug hotel. Attention was also given to hedgehogs by creating a series of hedgehog holes between the neighbouring four gardens and a hedgehog home.
A combination of autumn brown sandstone for the two patio areas was teamed with matching square setts to create a sweeping curved path linking the different spaces within the garden. The timber used for both benches and the pergola was Western Red Cedar which was allowed to silver over time. A hand thrown Cretan urn was displayed in a feature area viewed from both the house and the seating areas.
The plant selection offered something for butterflies, honeybees, hoverflies, bee-flies and long-tongued bees.