How To Help Garden Birds And Maximise Enjoyment Of Your Outdoor Spaces

 In Garden Design, Uncategorised, wildlife and ecology

Here are some tips to help garden birds so that you can enjoy sharing your garden with these wonderful creatures.

Don’t you just love garden birds? That brief flash of colour as they zoom past your window, the sound of the dawn chorus, and having cheeky garden visitors pecking at the crumbs left after your alfresco lunch. They’re a pure delight. Except when they’re pinching your produce – we’ll talk about that in a bit.

We’ve got some tips for anyone who wants to help garden birds to thrive.

  1. Ensure that they have a supply of clean fresh drinking water. A small water feature, a pond or even a shallow tray of water is all it takes.
  2. Provide plenty of shelter in the form of hedges, plants or even nest boxes.
  3. Plant a wide variety of trees, shrubs and perennial plants to offer perches, nest sites and forage.
  4. Ban pesticides from your patch. That includes slug pellets as well as bug sprays.
  5. Create a cat-proof feeding zone so that the birds feel safe from predators.
  6. Offer a variety of seasonally appropriate food. High protein in summer and high fat in winter.

How does it help you when you help garden birds

Sadly, human nature dictates that before we start a project or adopt a new habit, we’ll always ask ourselves “what’s in it for me?” Well, when it comes to supporting nature, there is a whole raft of benefits for humans.

bluetit with caterpillar in its beak

When you help garden birds, they will repay you with chemical-free pest control services, better music than Spotify can provide, a wealth of colour and movement in the garden and a feel-good factor that’s impossible to measure.

Creating gardens for wellbeing is something that’s important to me. I enjoy building patios, pergolas, paths, lighting schemes and other garden features. Why? Because I know that they will help my clients to spend more time outdoors. And the more plants I can surround those features with, the happier I am.

Housing developers, interior designers and town planners often use the term “Biophilic design”

The term refers to the inbuilt need for human beings to connect with nature and suggests that designing buildings and interiors with lots of green spaces contributes to our wellbeing. 

Garden designers have always known about Biophilic design. They perhaps haven’t always had a buzz-word for it, but that basic understanding that people feel more relaxed when they feel the sun on their skin and are surrounded by natural sounds and sights has always been a factor in good garden design.

When you design and build your outdoor spaces to help garden birds, that is a form of Biophilic design. And your mental health and wellbeing will most likely benefit as much as the birds do.

Garden Birds Are They Pest Controllers Or Are They Pests?

Encouraging birds into your garden can be a double-edged sword as many an allotmenteer will tell you.

First and foremost, our feathered friends are expert pest controllers. You’ll find that they gobble up aphids, caterpillars, grubs and gnats like there’s no tomorrow. Which means that you don’t need to pollute your plot with pesticides. 

Sadly though, some bird species are little too enthusiastic when it comes to our food crops. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve gone to pick a lovely ripe strawberry only to find that the birds have got there before me. 

scarecrow to deter garden birds from eating food crops

However, a wise gardener will design their productive plots with built-in protection from birds. Erecting a fruit cage is the best way to make sure you get a decent crop of summer berries. Cabbages may need a barrier to keep the pigeons off and a temporary covering with horticultural fleece will protect newly sown seeds.

What To Plant To Help Garden Birds

In my heart of hearts, I believe that as long as you have plenty of plants in your garden, the birds will enjoy them.

Natural lawns are a favourite with blackbirds and thrushes who like to forage for bugs in short grass.

Hedges provide perches, nesting places and shelter. Plenty of insects like hedges too which makes them great foraging spots. And if you choose native species of hedging plants you will also be supplying birds with a feast of autumn berries.

Trees are wonderful for birds. They’ll sit on the branches and sing their hearts out in spring time. Such a joy! Choose trees that offer autumn fruits and berries to help sustain the birds during colder weather.

Herbaceous borders with a mix of flowering species and ornamental grasses are great for birds to peck around and find bugs to eat. Very often they will also find caterpillars and aphids too. 

Climbing plants are often used for nesting. It always puts a smile on my face when I see a bird hopping into a green facade with a beak full of food for their babies.

Designing A Garden To Share With Birds

If you love being surrounded by nature, why not hire a like-minded garden designer to help you adapt your plot so that you can help garden birds to thrive?

Read my blogpost about designing gardens for birds and if you’d like me to help you adapt your garden, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  

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night time shot of a garden paved with limestone setts and beautifully planted with aromatic plantstropical looking castor oil plant with water droplets on palmate leaves