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Redcar & Cleveland
Borough Council

Biodiversity - Domestic Gardens

In our modern age of intensive farming, housing estates, motorways and industry, wildlife often gets forgotten in the drive to develop land and make money. Today, gardens have an increasingly important role to play in wildlife conservation. Planting trees and hedges, digging garden ponds, feeding the birds (year-round), etc. all make a real difference in urban and residential areas that would otherwise be virtual wildlife deserts. Even in countryside, where agriculture is practised all year, gardens can be made into oases of biodiversity; away from the pesticides and intensive methods now employed.


Everyone is familiar with birds visiting their gardens. Black birds, blue tits and robins are common sights across the UK. By making an effort, however, we can all encourage more species, in greater numbers to frequent our gardens all year round. There are a number of simple measures that can be taken to achieve this:


Putting a pond in you garden can make it invaluable for amphibians (frogs, toads and newts). In fact, it is widely recognised that domestic gardens play an important role in supporting their populations. By making it accessible to them, with shallow graded edges, you allow the amphibians to get in and out of the pond easily. Fish are a bad idea since they eat the spawn and tadpoles. Damp, dark places around garden edges are very useful foraging areas for frogs and toads.


Flowering shrubs and herbs will attract insects into your garden. Along with the plants themselves, they provide food for larger animals and birds, as well as pollinating the flowers. Bumblebees are a threatened group of insects and need our help. The above measures, and making bumblebee hibernating boxes, all help to support them. See the Bumblebee Conservation Trust for more information.

As will probably be apparent, if you encourage one type of wildlife into your garden, you will probably find that others take advantage of it as well. By improving gardens as habitats, we make them attractive to wildlife in general. There are numerous gardening books and websites around and many have wildlife sections in them. It is important to note that, by making your garden attractive to birds, amphibians, insects etc. you dont have to make it scruffy and unsightly. Proper planning can mean your garden is a pleasure for you and your flying/crawling/wriggling visitors. And the more people that do it, the more wildlife will be supported.

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