Practice low intervention horticulture. Not all areas need to be perfectly manicured and ‘tidy’ especially if they are a bit ‘out of the way’.
- Leave perennials standing until spring to provide habitat and food sources. This also adds structure and aesthetic value to a winter garden.
- Provide nest sites and cover for wildlife by allowing some trees and shrubs to grow to maturity undisturbed.
- Adopt a reduced mowing regime.
- Reduce predation by pests by protecting establishing plants with netting.
Take the opportunity to raise awareness and make a feature of low intervention areas by installing interpretation signs explaining what you have done. See ‘Communicating Biodiversity’.
Reduce or eliminate chemical use
- Mulch beds (with wood chips produced from your own waste materials or from a sustainable source) to prevent weeds.
- Use organic fertilisers including your own compost.
- Encourage natural predators like ladybirds, hover flies and lacewings, by using suitable food plants for adults and/or larvae and by providing hibernation habitats.
- Diversify planting to discourage pests and diseases.
Ensure use of sustainable materials
- The use of peat is responsible for loss of valuable peat bog habitat. Choose from one of the many alternatives that are available.
- Make sure that timber has Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) status.
- Do not use limestone from limestone pavements. This stone is an endangered geological formation and habitat. If you need to use stone, choose a recycled or suitable quarry source.