Wildlife garden

How to attract natures wildlife into your own garden

On this page we'll show you the principles and suggestions in order to attract wildlife into a garden, and how to make a butterfly house.

a birdhouse in a tree
a birdhouse in a tree
birds eating food scraps left purposely by humans
birds eating food scraps left purposely by humans


Our native butterflies are under serious threat. Habitat loss, increasing levels of pollution and changing weather patterns have had a huge impact on our native species. That's why it's more important than ever to support them in our gardens and green spaces.

2. Provide food and water all year

One of the best ways to persuade a plethora of wildlife to your patch is to give them access to an easy meal. 

Winter can be a difficult time for wildlife. Temperatures plummet and food becomes difficult to find. Insect-eating birds turn to alternative foods, some species travel far and wide, and foraging behaviour adapts, but we can lend a helping hand by providing a welcome source of extra food for birds to turn to in leaner times.

Water is crucial for wildlife. Making some available in your garden could be a lifeline, especially in extreme weather.

If space is tight, just a small dish can supply ample drinking and bathing water for birds and mammals. At the other end of the scale, a full-sized pond will give insects and amphibians a place to live and breed.

Place it near trees or plants so wildlife can approach from – and escape to - safe cover.

3. Choosing the right flowers

Flowers provide pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other insects that perform the vital task of fertilisation – seed and fruit production would drop dramatically without them.

Choose plants that provide pollen and nectar for as long a season as possible, from spring (Crocus and Mahonia for example) through to autumn (Michaelmas daisy, Sedum spectabile and ivy, which is particularly late to bloom and may provide food into early winter).

4. Leave a pile of dead wood

Decaying wood provides habitats for a range of specialist wildlife that is becoming increasingly uncommon in the countryside, such as stag and bark beetles. It also provides cover and hibernation sites.

Any unstained or unpainted wood is suitable, although big, natural logs are best in a shady spot, ideally partly buried. Log piles can look quite architectural and rustic, though many people prefer to tuck them out of sight.

butterflies and flowers
butterflies and flowers

1. Make a home

Buy or make a nesting box for birds or even bats to nest in. Make sure you put it in a sheltered place and high enough and so it’s out of reach from cats.

birds in a fountain
birds in a fountain
dead wood and wildlife
dead wood and wildlife
butterfly house created by humans
butterfly house created by humans

1. Select the Right Location

  • Choose a sunny location for your butterfly habitat as most butterflies prefer warm, sunny spots. It's essential that they have access to sunlight for basking.

2. Provide Nectar Plants

  • Plant a variety of nectar-rich flowers that bloom at different times throughout the year. This will provide a continuous source of food for adult butterflies.

3. Include Host Plants

  • Different butterfly species lay their eggs on specific host plants. These plants are essential for the caterpillar stage. Research and include the appropriate host plants for the butterflies you want to attract.

4. Create a Water Source and offer food

  • Butterflies need access to water. A shallow dish with damp sand or a few wet pebbles can provide the needed water source.

5. Educate Yourself

  • Learn about the life cycles of the butterfly species in your area, their behaviors, and the specific needs of the caterpillar and adult stages.