A garden isn’t just about plants, pots and pavers, it should be alive with birdsong, butterflies and chameleons.

If you really start to think about all the critters that inhabit a garden, it’s overflowing with life. Quite likely you already have some of these habitats. This list should spark a few more ideas.

Make a home for helpful garden creatures

1. Compost heap:

Earthworms, nematodes, and micro-organisms are essential for soil fertility and making nutrients available to plants. If you haven’t got a compost heap, soil covered with leaf litter is just as cosy.

2. Water feature:

Dragonflies and other water-loving insects love to dance across the water. Frogs will help keep the mosquitoes in check to balance your ecosystem. And if there’s a little shallow bit, you’ll tempt birds by offering them a bath.

3. Dead trees or logs:

Carpenter bees, woodpeckers and barbets love to nest in dead trees. If you’ve already felled your tree, leave a few logs behind so fungi and insects involved in decomposition can colonise it.

4. Sandy patches:

Birds love to have a sand bath or just sunbathe in a sandy patch. This is also where lizards and solitary wasps lay their eggs – you may not be a wasp fan but these guys are really good for your garden.

5. Dense shrubbery:

Let a part of your garden run wild and dense so birds and insects can nest there. A little untidiness here and there will be welcomed.

What to plant to attract birds to your garden:

A variety of seeds and flowers will have many different birds and insects coming back for more.

1. Nectar:

Plants such as aloes, strelitzias, agapanthus and salvias are irresistible to sunbirds.

2. Berries:

Bulbuls and other fruit-eating birds will be attracted to your garden if there are berry-bearing plants. Indigenous wild olive, wild peach, black-birdberry and waterberry trees will do the trick.

3. Seeds:

Grasses attract seed-eating birds and are very trendy in gardens. There are lovely looking varieties, some variegated, others tinged with red or purple. You can also attract birds using a feeder and wild bird seed.

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