Your Wildlife Gardening Gateway

Practical Advice:  Garden Habitats

...bringing nature closer to home

Temporary page by Steve Head

We have seen in The Garden Resource that looked at collectively, our gardens are an enormous resource for wildlife.  The “garden habitat” is also exceedingly rich and biodiverse, as shown in the page Gardens and Biodiversity. But one of the reasons for this high biodiversity is that gardens are not a uniform habitat, but contain lots of mini-habitats in close proximity.  Few gardens don’t have a bit of lawn, a veggie patch, flower beds, perhaps a hedge and a shrub or small tree, and each mini-habitat will probably support different creatures - although this is an area where further study would be useful. 

Many of the habitat patches in gardens resemble or substitute for semi-natural habitats in our countryside.  Lawns quite closely resemble grazed grassland, and garden patchworks of hedges and shrubs creates edge-zones, like the species-rich rich interface between woodlands and grasslands at the edge of a wood.  Compost heaps and wood piles represent the deep detritus layer in woodlands, and multi-species hedges can bring some of the diversity of deciduous woodland into a small space.  Garden ponds can be as species-rich as small natural ponds, and rockeries and gravel mimic screes and coastal habitats.  This wonderful mix of mini-habitats that resemble habitats to which our wildlife is already adapted, is one reason why gardens hold so many species.

We are developing several pages on garden habitats for wildlife.  These will explain the importance of - and give practical advice about - garden ponds, bog gardens, compost heaps (see Compost and Fertility), log piles and hibernation, rockeries, and green roofs and walls.