Creating a bird-friendly garden doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
In fact, with a little creativity and planning, you can find fun and sophisticated ways to integrate bird-loving features into your garden, whilst achieving a beautiful, natural outdoor space that both you and the local wildlife can enjoy.
If you’re a twitcher who takes part in seasonal bird counts or love nothing more than watching birds of all sizes and types making a home in your garden, you’ll be pleased to find out that there are so many different ways you can transform your garden into a haven for birds and wildlife.
From DIY bird feeders and nest boxes to finding stylish yet natural ways to incorporate bird-loving elements into your garden, we’re here with some helpful tips and inspirational ideas for designing a bird-friendly garden.
Birds rely on food sources from plants well as insects that feed from plants and plant debris. Therefore one of the easiest and most effective ways to bring more birds into your garden is by upping your plant-to-garden ratio.
But what are the best bird-loving plants and flowers to bring into your garden?
You may be surprised to find out that often birds love low-maintenance plants that have something to offer throughout the different seasons.
Holly, which produces berries in the autumn, is a firm favourite amongst blackbirds and thrushes. The harsh spikey leaves on the holly may not seem like the most comfortable nesting spot, but actually, this helps to create a safe shelter for smaller birds. Plant Holly bushes around the perimeter of your garden, next to fences, which will also help to protect the birds from the elements.
For the robins and wrens, you can go wrong with classic Ivy, which in the autumn produces an insect-attracting flower. Ivy will produce black berries mid-winter, which starlings, jays and finches love to feed on.
What’s more, Ivy is as much of a bird feeding station as it is a nesting and rooster shelter for smaller birds. If you’re unsure where to put ivy in your garden, you could consider installing a trellis, which will provide a supportive growing system for this stunning gracious green garden plant.
If you’re looking for a climbing plant that brings a touch of floral colour and a sweet scent to your garden, Honeysuckle is a winning choice. It’s a plant that also works well in smaller spaces, making it an ideal option if you have a lot to pack into a smaller garden space.
A small trellis or lattice top fence provides great growing support. Honeysuckle also looks great climbing over hazel hurdle fencing, too. Its scented flowers are loved by insects, which creates a food source for a range of bird species. And, during the autumn months, bullfinches and thrushes love to shelter within the foliage, whilst feeding on autumn berries.
Sunflowers are a true sign of summer. As these giant beauties peer over your neighbour’s fence, their large seed head is full of nutrient-dense seeds. These are a tasty snack of choice for finches, cardinals, woodpeckers and long-tailed tits. As a food source high in fat, they are great for helping birds build their fat source in the winter months.
The Shrub Rose is another floral favourite that not only looks utterly stunning but is loved by the birds. They are a fairly low-maintenance garden plant, however, do not grow well in permanently damp soil, so a raised sleeper bed, where you have more control over the soil moisture, offers an ideal growing environment.
Shrub Rose can also be trained to grow on a climber such as a trellis, pergola or arch, creating a quintessentially classical garden feature. Rose hips are taken by blackbirds and mistle thrushes.
Just like humans, birds also need somewhere to drink. Some birds also like to bathe from time to time. There are a few different ways you could set up water stations for the birds.
Ponds are a great addition to any garden where attracting local wildlife is on the priority list. Not only do they provide a drinking spot, but shallow areas can also be used as bathing spots.
Adding fish and lilies to a pond will help to increase the biodiversity of your garden and subsequently, attract more water-loving birds to your garden. The best thing is, your pond doesn’t have to be big.
Mini ponds are a popular option where you have less space to play with. These can be made using old container materials such as sinks and barrels. Once your mini pond is full of water, you can create a natural rocky surround using shingle, bricks and rocks. Or for a modern look, sink into a decked area to create a natural feature within a functional garden.
Bird baths can be repurposed from old dishes and bowls. Aim to put your bird bath in a sheltered spot where birds can feel relaxed and comfortable to rehydrate and wash.
You could build a pedestal using timber or an upright sleeper, or place your bird bath on the floor under a hedged area.
Property and urban development mean that during the breeding season, birds have fewer choices of spots to nest. That’s why nesting boxes are becoming increasingly important.
Whilst buying a box is certainly an option, if you fancy a fun DIY project with a worthy cause, building your own bird box is a fun and creative project that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Bird boxes can be made with a variety of timbers which means you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy timber for your box. Leftover decking or cuts of sleepers or fencing panels are a great place to start.
Building bird boxes of different sizes is a fantastic way to attract different types of birds. Smaller boxes will provide the perfect nesting spot for small birds such as tits, sparrows and songbirds, whilst larger bird boxes may attract jackdaws, kestrels, stock doves and even owls.
You should always aim to place your next boxes where cats cannot reach them.
Whilst there are lots of different plants that will help to sustain a bird’s diet throughout the season, many twitchers love to feed the birds in the garden. Bird seed, fat balls and insects are firm favourites.
Once again, whilst feeders can be bought and filled, if you’re looking to add your own personal touch to the birds’ all-you-can-eat buffet, why not build your own bird feeders?
Feeding stations can be built using timber, and feeding cages can be made using leftover stock wire fencing. Dot these around your garden so that all the birds can get their fair share of feed and watch as your garden becomes the ultimate feeding spot.
If you want to attract birds into your garden, harmful chemicals are a big no-no. Many homeowners are unaware of the detrimental effects that pesticides and weed control chemicals can have on birds, wildlife and pets.
And we get it. Part of taking care of your garden and keeping it looking great involves weed removal. But actually, there are some methods that are far better for the environment and the birds.
Weed ground control covers are a superb way to keep weeds at bay, without having to use a single chemical. These can be placed in raised sleeper beds, under sheds and fences, gravel pathways and around ponds, and will help to prevent pesky weed growth.
Composting is a natural and eco-friendly way to recycle food and garden waste. But did you know that compost can also be a great way to attract birds to your garden?
As food waste breaks down and compost is formed, insects and slugs flock to a compost heap. Insect-loving birds can then feed on worms and insects feeding on rotting matter. What’s more, birds will also seek out any seeds from composting fruits such as apples and berries.
Find everything you need to create a bird-friendly garden at Equestrian Fencing. Shop from a range of timber materials, garden aggregates and fencing products.