Balcony, yard and patio gardens

Even if you only have a window box, you can help wildlife


A small planter with herbs like rosemary, lemon balm, chives and thyme for cooking will offer a haven for insects. 

If you have room to pop a small bird feeder alongside or within this space, then you can enjoy a close-up drama with birds, butterflies, bees and other insects right outside your home.  Who needs TV?!

Extend this idea to pots in balcony or yard area, and you can add extra structure and variety with small shrubs, nectar-rich flowers and even some height if you have room.  Try alliums, daisies, campanulas, crocus, dahlia, stocks and penstemon for nectar-loving insects.  Add some berberis, quince, berry shrubs and maybe a small cherry for fruit-loving birds. 

Walls cry out for foliage and some clematis, jasmine or ivy would offer food and nesting sites for wrens, robins, dunnocks and some tits and finches. Feeders and a bird bath or water feature would finish off this little piece of wildlife heaven perfectly. 

Patio areas can be treated the same way, but can often benefit from border areas to extend your planting opportunities.  Many patios have structures like walls which will add extra sources of hiding places for insects and spiders, as well as extra planting opportunities for alpine plants. Blackbirds and thrushes will find patio paving useful to help break open snail shells. 

If you have room you could build a pergola and grow roses, passionflowers and other climbers for extra interest and further habitat for insects and birds. 

Whatever your space, try to offer a wide variety and food source throughout the seasons to maximise the benefits for your wildlife.