Many of us want to encourage wildlife in our gardens but are not sure what steps would be most helpful.
For wildlife to flourish it needs water, food, cover, a place to raise young and a healthy environment.
This certification scheme with different levels enables you to survey your garden to see how wildlife friendly it is already, give ideas of what more you could do and encourage you to see how effective your actions have been based on what animals and plants you can find there.
We have tried to ensure that people with small gardens can still reach the higher levels.
Bronze and silver focus on creating the conditions that favour wildlife, while gold and platinum add in ways of checking what results your actions are having on the actual wildlife that is there, plus encouraging other people to care for wildlife as well. Look here for ways of monitoring wildlife that will count towards gold and platinum and here for activities that count as ‘advocacy’ – for platinum.
You can go straight to getting your garden certified, but it’s probably better to use the checklist below to see if there is anything you would like to do to reach a particular level first.
You need to be able to have one of following or to be able to see it from your garden so that wildlife can drink and bathe.
- Water bowl for small animals
- Small Container pond
Your garden needs to provide a variety of foods. You need a minimum of three from this list to achieve bronze level.
- Pollen and nectar for at least 6 months of the year (see tips page)
- Stocked bird feeder only in the Winter
- Stocked bird feeder all year
- Grow single flower forms that are easier to access for pollinators
- Grow early spring flowers e.g. primrose, crocus, celandine
- Grow late Autumn flowers e.g. ivy
Creatures need places to shelter and to hide from predators and to move through, do you have some of the following?
- Dense deciduous shrubs or hedge
- Evergreen trees or shrubs
- Pile of sticks/branches/logs
- Pond (see tips page)
- Meadow area or container (see tips)
- Wooded area
- Ground Cover
- Rock pile or old wall
- Bat roosting box (see tips page)
- Insect hotel
- Compost area
- Hedgehog corridors/house (see tips page)
- Dead stalks/leaves left over the winter
- Climbers covering fences
- Nest for solitary bees -8mm holes e.g. in wood or stalks
Place to raise their young:
Species vary in the kind of places they need to raise their young.
- Fish-free pond (See tips page)
- Mature trees
- Meadow area or container(see tips page)
- Nest box for small birds
- Nest box for bigger birds
- Bat roosting box
- Nest for solitary bees with 8mm diameter holes
- Insect hotel
- Thick hedge
- Dense Shrub
- Thick climbers
- Pile of dead twigs, branches/logs
- Host plants for caterpillars in the ground or a container(see tips page)
Healthy, Sustainable Environment:
Are you following at least some of these practices in each of these categories?
A) Soil and Water conservation:
- Use a rainwater butt
- Use mulch
- Limit hosepipe use
- Don’t use peat-based compost (see tips page)
- No dig gardening (see tips page)
- Compost area
- Wormery for kitchen waste
B) Organic Practices:
- Use no artificial pesticides
- Use no artificial fertilisers
- Use a compost bin or heap
- Use all the recycling possibilities available locally
- If you are buying wood products, make sure they are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified.
C) Encourage Native Species:
- Mow some of your lawns less often e.g. not May – July (see tips page)
- Grow good food source plants (see tips page)
- Grow more native species (see tips page)
Now you can certify your garden
Filling in the questionnaire below will determine what level you have reached.
For bronze and silver you will obtain your certificate by email to print out yourself after having submitted your questionnaire. For gold and platinum we prefer to visit the garden to validate your application, but other methods could be arranged.