Hedgehog emerging from a wooden-crate shelter on a lawn

Wildlife homes to make

Provide havens for the wildlife in your plot with these wildlife retreats.

Even the smallest gardens, balconies and other plots can be a haven for wildlife.

One of the best ways to help is to create wildlife homes for the various creatures that visit the garden. It’s also a fun chance to get creative, whether it’s designing insect hotels or wildlife-friendly planting schemes.

Even the smallest gardens, balconies and other plots can be a haven for wildlife.

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One of the best ways to help is to create wildlife homes for the various creatures that visit the garden. It’s also a fun chance to get creative, whether it’s designing insect hotels or wildlife-friendly planting schemes.

While some wildlife is easy to spot – for example birds and insects – others, like hedgehogs are more secretive. If you think one might be visiting your garden, you could try creating this hedgehog footprint tunnel to record their footprints.

For more ways to help wildlife or even create a garden dedicated to wildlife, check out these essential features of a wildlife garden.

Discover some of the best wildlife homes to make, below.

Like swifts, house martins are summer residents in the UK, where they like to nest under sheltered house eaves.

Bee hotels

Bee hotels consist of open-fronted shelters packed with hollow stems. They attract solitary bees that lay their eggs in the hollow stems, which then emerge as adults in spring. Follow the advice in this video on how to make a basic bee hotel, or go for something different with one of these more unique bee hotels.

A bee hotel made of old tin cans stacked attractively and packed with hollow stems
A bee hotel made of old tin cans stacked attractively and packed with hollow stems

Insect hotel

Insect hotels will appeal to a broader range of insects, providing hollow stems for solitary bees, as well as plenty of nooks and crannies for other invertebrates. It’s a great way to put items lying spare in the garden, like old tiles and bricks, to good use. Find out how to create this insect hotel.

An insect hotel made from bricks, pallets, roof tiles, twigs and cones
An insect hotel made from bricks, pallets, roof tiles, twigs and cones

Frog hibernacula

Over the winter months, female and juvenile frogs seek out damp areas to shelter in over winter. Safe refuges can be created for them using old leaves and grass clippings to create a hibernaculum. Find out how to create a hibernaculum for frogs.

Leaf-covered hibernaculum for frogs, built beside a wall
Leaf-covered hibernaculum for frogs, built beside a wall

Lacewing home

This lacewing home is one of the simplest wildlife homes you can create. A piece of rolled cardboard held in place by being pushed into an open-ended bottle is all it takes. This can then be hung from a tree in the garden. You could also hit two birds with one stone by making this ladybird and lacewing lair.

Placing rolled corrugated cardboard in a cut plastic bottle to make a lacewing home
Placing rolled corrugated cardboard in a cut plastic bottle to make a lacewing home

Tit box

Tit boxes, that is, bird boxes that have a small nesting hole on the front, cater to small garden birds like blue tits, great tits and sparrows. Discover the different tit boxes you can create for garden birds.

Bird box with green roof
Bird box with green roof

Swift box

Different birds have different nesting requirements. In the UK swifts are summer residents, flying from sub-Saharan Africa to breed. You can help these chattery birds by creating swift nest boxes.

Swift nest box
Swift nest box

House martin box

Like swifts, house martins are summer residents in the UK, where they like to nest under sheltered house eaves. They create these by packing mud together, but in dry summer this can be scarce. This papier-mâché house martin box will give them a helping hand.

Making an under-eaves, papier-mâché house martin nest
Making an under-eaves, papier-mâché house martin nest

Winter toad hide

Like frogs, toads will benefit from a damp, sheltered spot to take refuge in over winter. These spots could be as simple as partially sunken pots filled with autumn leaves, to more bespoke winter toad hides.

Placing a flowerpot filled with damp leaves on the soil as a toad hide
Placing a flowerpot filled with damp leaves on the soil as a toad hide

Bumblebee nest

Bumblebees create their nests in the ground, often in the old burrows of mammals like voles and mice. These habitats can be recreated a number of ways, for example this simple bumblebee pot, to a more elaborate nester made with bricks and tiles.

A semi-buried bumblebee nester created with bricks and tiles
A semi-buried bumblebee nester created with bricks and tiles

Wood stacks

Deadwood habitats cater to lots of invertebrates, like centipedes and woodlice, which in turn attracts predators like hedgehogs and birds. They’re simple to create and can be become a design feature in the garden. Check out these dead wood habitats to create. For stag beetles, consider this stumpery.

A garden stack of sawn logs, beside ferns
A garden stack of sawn logs, beside ferns

Hedgehog house

Hedgehog houses provide a warm, dry place for them to hibernate in over winter. They’re simple to create and can even be created from old wine crates. Discover more ways to help hedgehogs.

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A wooden hedgehog house in a sheltered spot
A wooden hedgehog house in a sheltered spot

Cutting back ornamental grasses
Cutting back ornamental grasses

Materials to save and use for wildlife homes

  • Tiles
  • Bricks
  • Twiggy prunings
  • Grass clippings
  • Autumn leaves
  • Pet hair
  • Pots
  • Hay from ornamental grasses

Even the smallest gardens, balconies and other plots can be a haven for wildlife.

One of the best ways to help is to create wildlife homes for the various creatures that visit the garden. It’s also a fun chance to get creative, whether it’s designing insect hotels or wildlife-friendly planting schemes.

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