- #1 - Create natural habitats
- #2 - Provide food sources
- #3 - Avoid harmful chemicals
With South Africa rapidly growing to over 15 million residents in its five major cities alone, it’s never been so important to ensure local wildlife is not eliminated from the urban landscape.
Adapting gardens to being wildlife-friendly in your new home doesn’t mean outdoor areas have to become wild jungles: by making some simple changes such as starting a home garden, we can give nature somewhere that provides food and shelter.
There are many things homeowners can do to make wildlife welcome and ensure that they are always invited back into the local environment, and here’s how:
#1 – Create natural habitats
However small or large the garden in your new property might be, there are numerous ways to adapt ideas for wildlife to set up home providing you think about the space you have and maximize it accordingly.
Install a pond or water feature to both amphibians and invertebrates, or bird baths to bathe in. Alternatively, discarded or decomposing woodpiles and compost will help animals to feed and hibernate.
If you want birds to nest in your garden, trees and hedges will offer them shelter, but make sure windows are bird-safe to avoid them flying into the glass and injuring themselves.
#2 – Provide food sources
Plan how much space you have and design borders with shrubs and flowering plants which will not only be relaxing refuge from daily life but will also provide food rich in nectar for bees and butterflies to thrive off.
Think about planting seeds or berries around the garden and let herbs go to seed to feed small mammals.
If there is a lawn, or you are thinking of starting one, leave some areas around the edges uncut so that birds, minibeasts and insects can feast upon it, and consider planting flowers that are native to South Africa to attract more visitors into your green space.
#3 – Avoid harmful chemicals
Any avid gardener will know that uninvited pests are often hard to get rid of but using harmful chemicals can affect both the local and wider environment by contaminating the ground.
Try regularly pulling out weeds from areas where they are unwanted instead of using weed killer as an alternative in order to avoid exposing yourself to toxic chemicals.
Similarly, crush eggshells to keep slugs or snails at bay, particularly if you want to grow your own food to eat.
When thinking of designing a garden in your new home, consider what’s best to support our natural ecosystems and fill up outdoor spaces with beauty and biodiversity to encourage wildlife into our natural environment, and for somewhere for you to enjoy.