How to attract garden birds & other wildlife by Tim Brayford Landscapes Isle of Wight

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Blue Tits are a popular garden bird

How to attract garden birds by Tim Brayford Landscapes

The presence of wild birds are one of the things that many people enjoy about their gardens but what do these birds like and how can they be encouraged?
Feeding birds is a good start, especially during the colder late autumn to early spring months, October to April. Place a bird table where it can easily be observed, ideally close to a thick hedge or some dense shrubs. This will help small birds to evade the predatory patrols of a marauding sparrowhawk, expect a few casualties though as the hawk needs to feed as well.
Choose a variety of foods such as seeds and nuts and fatty strips of bacon or fat balls as these will help to feed a broad range of birds. Putting the food out in the morning and during the early afternoon will allow plenty of time for it to be cleared up, spilled feedstuffs left on the ground after dark will encourage rats so is best avoided. Cease feeding during the spring as nature comes back to life, the natural foods that a good garden habitat will now provide is far preferable for the birds and their young.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Sparrowhawks feed opportunistically around bird tables

Birds and other wildlife thrive in a litter free and slightly untidy garden. Variety is they key, areas of mown and unmown grass with an array of meadow flowers and clovers will be attractive to grazers, seed eaters and insectivorous birds which will feed on the invertebrates to be found there. Mixed borders of nectar rich herbaceous and flowering shrubs will attract a multitude of insect life too, whilst the damper environment of a decaying log pile will provide a home for creatures such as toads and woodlice.

Tim Brayford Landscapes- Hawthorn Hedges feed many birds

Thick native hedging like Hawthorn will provide both dense nesting cover for many birds and autumn berries for migrants such as fieldfares to feast on. Nest boxes of different designs and sizes are available to suit both small birds even for the larger species such as Barn Owls, as a rule of thumb sight these out of direct sunlight and away from prevailing winds.
Don’t forget about water, a regularly filled birdbath is good but a wildlife pond is even better. Insects such as midges, dragon and damsel flies will feed birds such as swallows and swifts, whilst surrounding vegetation can provide nesting cover for aquatic birds like moorhens.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – A large skipper butterfly feeding on geranium “Wargrave’s Pink

To learn more about what Tim Brayford Landscapes has to offer please visit our website , email us timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com or call 07890869918

Garden Ideas by Tim Brayford Landscapes Isle of Wight

Tim Brayford Landscapes – A tranquil seating area amongst herbs & grape vines

Garden Ideas

 Your initial  thoughts

Start by assessing your future needs for your garden, who is going to use it and for what purpose. Does it need dividing up into tranquil areas for more mature family members or perhaps play areas for children or pets, do you want to attract wildlife like garden birds ? And what about maintenance, do you simply want areas of grass or do you have the time and skills to develop the classical country house borders of mixed shrubs and herbaceous plants?

Develop a theme

Thinking in terms of the overall look if your house is of a striking contemporary design you may find that architectural plants with bold foliage and areas of gravel and paving in finely dressed stone or concrete may be suitable, whereas if you live in a traditional country cottage fragrant honeysuckles and roses with winding paths in brick or roughly hewn paving slabs are preferable.

What to do next

Keep a notebook of your initial thoughts and perhaps do a rough sketch as well. Take a walk around your garden, taking a hard look at things that are past their best. Are paving slabs loose or broken, does the pond leak, are existing plants to your liking, over-mature or gappy? Are the existing features where you would like them to be, are there views that can beneficially be opened up or things that require hiding from view? These are the sort of questions that you need to ask yourself.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – The blank canvas, after the initial clearance of the concreted over surface!

Marking Out

The next stage is to get out into your garden and mark out what you intend to do, some sticks and string are useful or the kind of marker paint that is used on building sites. This is available in a variety of colours, you can use a different one for paving, ponds, planting, or lawns etc. Take care to allow plenty of width for paths, space for seating on paved areas and lawns if required, and allow plenty of space for plants to grow and mature into. Take a few photos from different angles of what you have marked out for future reference.

Take time to reflect

Now refer back to the notes that you made earlier, is what you wish to do practical, does it fit the available space, can it be achieved and is it possible within your budget?  Do any of the features need moving around from where you initially placed them, do others need to be added or even discarded? Again, these are the kind of questions that you need to be asking yourself. If at this stage your thoughts have turned into a bit of a fog you may benefit from some advice from a professional garden designer, otherwise you are now ready to proceed to with your project.

To learn more about what Tim Brayford Landscapes have to offer please visit our website www.timbrayford.co.uk, email us timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com or call 07890869918

 

The Wildlife Pond by Tim Brayford Landscapes Isle of Wight

The trouble with having a wildlife pond is that I supposedly ‘waste’ a great deal of time watching it. It is the most fascinating habitat in the whole garden. I have had mine for about five years now and the first inhabitants, pond skaters, arrived within an hour of it filling up. Since then we have had Damsel flies, Dragon flies, Water Boatmen and lots of other unidentified little bugs that skitter and wriggle about in its depths. The icing on the cake came last week when my 8 year old (another essential ingredient for ponds by the way!) dipped his net in and found a newt. That’s the thing about ponds, if you get it right you don’t have to stock it, it stocks itself.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Dragonfly

So what makes a good wildlife pond? Firstly it must be deep enough in the middle for creatures to overwinter successfully, mine is about three feet deep with a shallower shelf around the edge. I used a butyl liner with the correct padding underneath, it pays to get this bit right as a hole in the liner is an expensive mistake to rectify. The edges have a gentle slope and because mine abuts the lawn I laid turf over the edge to hide the liner. I then did something that a lot of gardeners would hold their hands up in horror at, I chucked some clay soil (devoid of stones) into the bottom. Well, those newts have to have something to spuddle about in, don’t they?

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Bee attracted to wildlife pond

Be choosy about the plants you want to have in your pond. I chose native plants as far as possible, although I did succumb to a small, white waterlily . My favourites are Watermint, Brooklime and Water Forget-me-not. Avoid really rampant growers such as the Bull rush and Canadian Pondweed in your pond as these will soon choke it. I made use of the wet clay soil behind my pond to plant yellow Iris as well as Purple Lythrum and Meadowsweet. I planted the pond lily in a pot but everything else I anchored under the turf edge or weighed them down in bunches on the shallow shelf to do their own thing.

You can get as artistic as you like with decorating the outer edges to attract residents and visitors. I chose a couple of semi-rotten large branches to drape over the back edge and dip right into the water and these have been a great hit with all types of birds as bathing and drinking perches. Insects love the flowering plants around the outside and in winter finches feast on the seed heads.

Damsel flies are attracted to the wildlife pond

My pond is never going to be the tidiest and, yes, I do get some duckweed and blanketweed (a revelation in itself when you see what takes up residence in it) but it most certainly is one of the busiest.

And don’t forget that essential item a Garden Seat!

Please visit our Tim Brayford Landscapes website or contact us by email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com or phone 07890 869918 to discuss how we can assist you with your landscape garden project.

Garden Gallery 21 by Tim Brayford Landscapes Isle of Wight

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Autumn flowers

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Bog Bean

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Chicken & bird table

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Spring bulbs

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction.
Our services encompass the initial ideas through to landscaping and aftercare.
We are experienced in a broad range of projects including the design & planting of entire gardens or the addition of individual features like lawn seeding & turfing, raised beds, water gardens & pools, ground shaping and cultivation, installation of irrigation systems, tree, shrub & herbaceous border planting, establishing wildlife gardens & ponds, wildflower meadows. We undertake specialist maintenance work such as fruit, shrub & rose pruning.
We offer professional garden advice and artisan hand drawn garden plans which are a particularly good starting point for the more elaborate projects.
To learn more about what we have to offer please visit our website, email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com or call 07890869918

Garden Gallery 20 by Tim Brayford Landscapes Isle of Wight

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Iris & bee

Tim Brayford Landscapes – shrub rose Bonica

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Canada goose family

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Potato Plot

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction.
Our services encompass the initial ideas through to landscaping and aftercare.
We are experienced in a broad range of projects including the design & planting of entire gardens or the addition of individual features like lawn seeding & turfing, raised beds, water gardens & pools, ground shaping and cultivation, installation of irrigation systems, tree, shrub & herbaceous border planting, establishing wildlife gardens & ponds, wildflower meadows. We undertake specialist maintenance work such as fruit, shrub & rose pruning.
We offer professional garden advice and artisan hand drawn garden plans which are a particularly good starting point for the more elaborate projects.
To learn more about what we have to offer please visit our website, email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com or call 07890869918

Garden Gallery 19 by Tim Brayford Landscapes Isle of Wight

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Native pond plants

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Helenium & bee

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Natural Stone Paving

Tim Brayford Landscapes – Apples

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction.
Our services encompass the initial ideas through to landscaping and aftercare.
We are experienced in a broad range of projects including the design & planting of entire gardens or the addition of individual features like lawn seeding & turfing, raised beds, water gardens & pools, ground shaping and cultivation, installation of irrigation systems, tree, shrub & herbaceous border planting, establishing wildlife gardens & ponds, wildflower meadows. We undertake specialist maintenance work such as fruit, shrub & rose pruning.
We offer professional garden advice and artisan hand drawn garden plans which are a particularly good starting point for the more elaborate projects.
To learn more about what we have to offer please visit our website www.timbrayford.co.uk, email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com or call 07890869918

Garden Gallery 18 by Tim Brayford Landscapes Isle of Wight

Tim Brayford Landscapes – cottage garden

Tim Brayford Landscapes – late summer border

Tim Brayford Landscapes – ivy archway

Tim Brayford Landscapes – natural stone paving

 

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction.
Our services encompass the initial ideas through to landscaping and aftercare.
We are experienced in a broad range of projects including the design & planting of entire gardens or the addition of individual features like lawn seeding & turfing, raised beds, water gardens & pools, ground shaping and cultivation, installation of irrigation systems, tree, shrub & herbaceous border planting, establishing wildlife gardens & ponds, wildflower meadows. We undertake specialist maintenance work such as fruit, shrub & rose pruning.
We offer professional garden advice and artisan hand drawn garden plans which are a particularly good starting point for the more elaborate projects.
To learn more about what we have to offer please visit our website www.timbrayford.co.uk, email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com or call 07890869918