How to design and create a bird garden

A fascinating declination of the classic garden concept

Photo of author

By Alex

bird garden

Think, design, and create a green space dedicated to birdlife: you will obtain a garden full of life and rich in biodiversity. It is called bird garden and is one of the most beautiful and fascinating declinations of the traditional concept of a garden designed in perfect harmony with nature.

But how to make a bird garden yourself and successfully? We will find out in this guide.

In fact, here are some tips on how to make yourself a bird garden, a garden that will bring birds to nest and perch on the branches of shrubs and bushes chosen specifically to attract them. Although many consider the garden a place where ‘interference’ caused by wildlife spoils the quest for ‘aesthetic perfection,’ it is possible to blend together both beauty and naturalness.

The masters of the genre are probably the British. Forerunners of a naturalistic culture applied to the management of public and private green areas that began to spread as early as the early nineteenth century with “Squire” Charles Waterton, the inventor of the bird-nesting box and also the creator the world’s first wildlife sanctuary.

Making a bird garden, in fact, means recreating the habitats and transitions necessary for biodiversity development. Doing so encourages the appropriation of local fauna. This involves simulating the transition between trees, shrubs, grasslands and wetlands, with their respective intermediate spaces and habitats. This allows birds and other living organisms to coexist and gradually transition from one environment to another.

How to make a bird garden: choosing plants

Making a bird garden requires starting with the choice of plants and tree species best suited to the local climate and fauna. It will therefore be preferable to select native varieties, although, as we shall see, exotic species can also be successfully included.

Some already mature plants such as the European oak, for example, have a very high biological value and are therefore better suited to host a naturalistic wealth of birds, insects and other living organisms.

When choosing plants, moreover, it will be wise to keep in mind both practical value and aesthetic value. The beauty (and the difficulty) is to do so without sacrificing one in favor of the other.

An old dead log or a very old plant, for example, may be uneconomical from an ornamental point of view.

On the other hand, they might be extremely valuable as bird refuges. In such cases, it will be appropriate to grow a nice creeper or flowering shrub next to it.

bird garden
Creating a bird-friendly environment is a challenge in which you need to combine beauty and practicality.

Useful plants in a bird garden

It is therefore essential to know and select native species. But it is also possible to cleverly incorporate some exotic plants that will attract birds and insects.

Some examples? The cotoneaster offers a bounty of multicolored berries much appreciated by birds in autumn and winter.

The same goes for climbing plants. For example, hedera not only makes an excellent ornamental contribution to the aesthetics of the garden, but is also a favorite refuge for many animals.

A typical thorny shrub of our flora that is particularly useful and versatile is hawthorn. The dense thorny vegetation attracts many birds to build a safe nest. It also provides them with autumn berries, which are very tasty and nutritious. Leaflets and flowers, on the other hand, attract insects such as bees, butterflies and beetles.

In addition, hawthorn is a very resistant plant to pest attacks that tends to grow luxuriantly without needing special care-the perfect mix for any self-respecting nature garden!

bird garden
A sprig of hawthorn can’t help but be part of an ideal bird garden.

Other plants to consider

Other useful plants for creating a bird garden are robins, finches. Not only that, they are also appreciated by small mammals. Elderberry and laurel are especially liked by blackbirds, while fig feeds birds before autumn migration.

Some pear trees are much liked by insectivorous birds, which are greedy for the tiny aphids they find on their leaves.

Then there are the prairie species such as the thistle They are the delight of all passerines that like to feed directly from the plant or the soil.

And then there are the aromatics, which attract lots of insects. Let’s not forget that to make the garden especially attractive to a wide variety of birds, it will also be important to leave room for wild and uncultivated plants.

bird garden

Maintenance and care of a bird garden

At the heart of the bird garden concept is the almost total absence of pesticides, chemicals and synthetic and anti-cryptogamic products.

It must take place in late spring-early summer. It should be limited to the most leafy tops to avoid disturbance of nests during the mating season.

Excessive clearing of the lawn of leaves, droppings and branches should also be avoided. These are all elements that enrich the biological heritage of the green space and environmental variability.

Like all natural gardens, thebird garden must be low-maintenance. In fact, it must provide for true ‘uncultivated’ corners. That is, we must maintain portions of unmowed lawn, hedges, and good intricate and thorny vegetation that provides shelter and nourishment for the birdlife.

It will also be important to set up sources of water or artificial watering troughs for the birds. A few feeders scattered in corners of the garden, sheltered from predators and the weather, will also be useful.

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