Small gardens

Small gardens are the most numerous and often the most fun to work in and enjoy!


With a bit of thought about the types of plants, structures and how you will use your space, you can achieve maximum enjoyment and benefit to wildlife, with minimum effort


The smallest of spaces can offer a year around haven for birds, insects, hedgehogs, spiders, amphibians and small mammals.  A wide variety of planting, heights, foliage types, fences and lawn can bring much-needed habitat, food and nesting sites. 

A small patch of lawn will help ground feeders like blackbirds, thrushes and green woodpeckers find worms, insects and mud for nests.  Try adding a ground feeder for supplemental feeding.  If you have room, you could allow an area of the lawn to grow longer to offer flowers for insects and seeds for birds. 


Patio and decking areas need not be barren; add pretty pots with nectar-rich plants to attract insects.  Try native species like chives, marigold, cornflower, fuchsia and poppies. 

Make borders into bird havens by mixing planting – see more here. Offer a range of heights in your borders to help birds feed in their natural habit.  Adding a small tree or two is not only attractive, but offers additional nesting sites and singing posts for birds, as well as somewhere to hang a feeder or two. 

Most small gardens have walls or fences and a nice blanket of year around foliage with ivy, clematis, honeysuckle, jasmine, sweet pea and hydrangea will not only give insects, spiders and small mammals somewhere to live, but offer food, protection from predators and nesting sites for small birds. Wrens, dunnocks, blackbirds, finches, tits and even sparrows will enjoy these areas.  Each bird likes to nest at different heights, so making these as tall as possible would be perfect.  

Where possible you could add additional nesting sites with nest boxes amongst the wall foliage to give parents, eggs and fledglings vital cover from predators. 

Even the smallest garden can offer water for wildlife.  From a simple saucer or bird bath, to a small pond - anything is possible! Try combining a water feature with a  sunny, rocky area for alpine plants to attract basking butterflies.

Dark, damp corners are perfect for log piles or a bug hotel to help attract more insects, amphibians and even hedgehogs to your garden.  Consider adding ferns for interest and protection from predators.