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What makes the ideal garden for wildlife?

2nd April 2019

As you may know, hedgehogs are in serious decline, but our gardens are fast becoming a haven for our spiky friends. Luckily, there are some really simple things that you can do to make sure your garden is attracting hedgehogs, and also help other wildlife.

Hedgehogs aren’t fussy animals, but they do like a messy garden.

A garden with lots of shrubs, wild plants and overgrown areas will encourage lots of insects into your garden. This means lots of potential food for your local hedgehogs.  It also provides lots of areas to hide, nest in or just take a well earned break.

Photo of the wild garden by Iain Green

Photo credit: Iain Green, Hedgehog Champion

Gardens with astroturf, decking or patio, replacing any plants or grass is not a happy home for hedgehogs.

Where are they meant to nest? What are they meant to eat? Even just a wild corner would go a long way to making a happy hedgehog.

Photo credit: Emily Wilson, Hedgehog Officer


Create a wild space where nature can be free to grow!

Then you will be encouraging all sorts of other wildlife too. Not to mention, it really does look quite beautiful when you do.


You may be tempted to your grass kept short and remove plants before they become too wild, but these areas can provide valuable resources such as nesting and foraging sites.

If you are strimming or mowing, just make sure to look out for hedgehogs first. Unfortunately, ‘hogs don’t run away from noise, but instead curl up in a ball – making them very vulnerable to injury or death.

Photo credit: Oliver Wilks, Hedgehog Champion


Even messy log piles or leaf piles, which may look unattractive to you, are a dream home to a local hog.

These are easy to make, and ideally located in areas where they won’t get disturbed – in a corner or under shrubs. The perfect hideaways!


But, not all mess is good of course. Any litter, or netting should be removed or tied up to prevent the poor creatures from getting entangled.

Photo credit: Jenny Oakley, Hedgehog Champion


And finally, consider making a water feature. Or if you already have one – make it safe!

Hedgehogs love to swim, and they are pretty good at it too! The only issue is getting back out again.  It’s essential that we provide ramps, bricks, sandbags, anything, that will help hedgehogs get out of ponds.

Hedgehog escape ramp, by Iain Green

Photo credit: Iain Green, Hedgehog Street


A garden can be beautiful and wildlife-friendly all at the same time.

Photo credit: Emily Wilson, Hedgehog Officer