8 Tips for a Bird-Friendly Garden

Do you love to listen to the cheerful chirping of happy birds in your garden? Perhaps you’re an amateur bird watcher, and you love to see a wide variety of our feathered friends fluttering around your seed feeder? You need a bird-friendly garden.

Birds contribute to healthy soil and are good for the biodiversity of your garden. They eat the grubs and insects that often damage our plants and our lawns, so encouraging more birds into your garden can help your greenery thrive.

Follow our 8 easy tips for a bird-friendly garden, and reap the rewards of a garden that’s rich in biodiversity.

Ready? Let’s go!

Plant a lawn

Long grass with a house in the background.

Birds are attracted to our lawns because insects live within the soil and serve as delicious, protein-rich fodder.

So, planting a lawn is one of the best ways to encourage more birds into your garden. We have LOTS of great advice for lawn lovers but, sometimes, you’ll run into problems.

If you see yellow or bald spots developing throughout your lawn, you may have leatherjackets or grubs. Birds LOVE these grubs. We often refer to “people who eat like a bird” as if they barely have any appetite; they haven’t seen birds eating their way through a population of lawn-damaging insects.

Also, blackbirds love to peck the worms out of your lawn. Win-win.

Vary the plants that bloom in different seasons

Your garden is a little self-sustaining ecosystem.

The flowers on our plants attract pollinators and insects, which help our plants yield fruit and multiply. These insects, in turn, attract the birds because they’re a great source of food.

And when our plants die off in winter, the birds eat their seeds.

On top of that, the dead organic matter left behind from perennial plants makes excellent nesting material.

Plant buckwheat, rape, or sunflowers for prime nesting material.

Plant trees and bushes

Birds love to live high up in the trees, so planting large trees and shrubs will create hospitable, safe, sheltered retreats for their nests.

Bushes that produce berries and fruit provide an excellent, plentiful food source. You might not want the birds getting at your raspberries, of course, so cover those over with mesh or a polytunnel to protect your crop.

Birds love blackcurrants, blackberries, redcurrants, and raspberries. Alternatively, you can choose bushes whose berries aren’t suitable for human consumption but are perfect for birds.

The following berry-bearing bushes are bird-attractors:

  • Rowan
  • Holly
  • Whitebeam
  • Dog rose
  • Spindle
  • Guelder rose
  • Hawthorn
  • Ivy
  • Honeysuckle
  • Elder

And these attractive shrubs are also bird favourites:

  • Cotoneaster
  • Pyracantha
  • Berberis

Wait before you prune

A thoroughly pruned field

Most bushes and shrubs benefit from an annual pruning, helping encourage new growth the following year. But if you prune at the wrong time, you cut off the food source for the birds you’re so keen to invite into your garden.

Prune before March or after July, which is the breeding season for most birds. And before you prune, check for the presence of nests.

If you find a nest, wait until the last bird has flown away for the winter before you start hacking.

Feed the birds

Many UK birds migrate to warmer climes once the summer is over. However, those that remain experience a severe lull in their food supply. So, feeding the birds throughout the winter is always welcomed.

Tradition has it that birds love bread, but – actually – bread doesn’t supply enough protein or fat for a healthy avian diet and is considered an “empty filler”.

Instead, fill your bird table and feeders with:

  • Fat balls
  • Peanut rings
  • Special bird peanut butter

These treats provide the fat and protein birds need to get through the colder winter months.

And there’s no denying: a birdhouse in the garden offers hours of fascinating watching.

Build a pond

A garden pond doesn’t have to contain fish. A small, shallow pond provides birds with a place to drink and bathe and encourages a wealth of other wildlife (which birds also find irresistible).

But ponds aren’t just for birds; they attract foxes who drink from the pond and pipistrelle bats who feed on the insect life that grows there. And damselflies and dragonflies (if you’re lucky) lay their eggs on aquatic plants.

If you don’t have room for a pond in your garden, you could install a smaller water dish, which will have the same effect.

Leave the leaves behind

Fallen autumn leaves

We always know when autumn has arrived because the trees start to shed their leaves. And it’s incredibly tempting to rake them up immediately but think about the wildlife that relies on this fallen organic matter.

Insects live among the fallen leaves, which attracts the birds.

Additionally, fallen leaves create a natural mulch layer for your flower beds, which, in turn, protects your plants from frost.

Do not use poison

Many of us rely on pellets to combat slugs and snails, but have you thought about the potential consequences for the birds that eat the slugs? Applying poisons (such as weed killer) to your soil is a genuine hazard for the wildlife that enjoys your outdoor space, so try and think of more humane or “green” ways to tackle weeds and pests.

For example, you can build slug traps by filling an old jam jar with beer and burying it amongst your veg. The slugs are attracted to the beer and fall into the trap and drown. And, while that’s still pretty grim, it’s probably better to drown in a vat of beer than to burn to death from chemicals.

You’re potentially destroying a valuable food source for your birds when you kill off the pests. If they find no food to sustain them, they’ll fly away somewhere else.

If you’re looking for another way of getting rid of weeds, check out our 15 tips to control and remove weeds.

Explore Our Help & Advice Page

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our expert tips for creating a bird-friendly garden.

We have plenty more information and tips about achieving and maintaining the perfect lawn on our Help & Advice page.

And we’re always happy to help. Email us at hello@moowy.co.uk if you have any questions.

Good luck with creating your own bird-friendly garden!

The top 10 gifts for gardeners

As you know, we’re utterly potty about pottering in the gardening here at MOOWY (awful, compound pun intended). So we’ve put together a list of gifts for gardeners that we’d love to receive (heavy hint intended 🙂 ).

We love nothing better than being out in the open air and getting our hands dirty. And because we have such enthusiasm for gardening, we’ve tried literally every gardening gadget that’s ever been invented.

Which is handy, because this blog is all about our favourite gardening gadgets. So, if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration for that extra special gift, look no further.

We’re going to explore a range of affordable gift ideas that any gardening fanatic will love and use (rather than bung it in the bottom of the drawer).

Ready? Let’s go

1. A Mushroom Knife

A mushroom knife

You might be astonished to learn that fungi can actually be beneficial for your lawn. Letting fungi grow and live on in your garden is an excellent idea because mother nature uses these complex organisms to help decompose organic matter.

And decomposed organic matter makes excellent compost. Fungi is the only type of microbe that can decompose wood, so sticks and branches from fallen trees rely on our mushroomy friends to feed the soil.

However, you’re not alone if you’d rather have a mushroom-free lawn.

If you’re looking to eradicate the fungi from your lawn, you need a mushroom knife. This type of tool is ideal for both edible and inedible fungi, with a crafted blade that cuts the mushroom clean from the stalk and a brush for cleaning soil from the mushroom itself.

Of course, you have to know what you’re doing if you’re looking for edible mushrooms. Never eat a mushroom unless you are 100% sure you know it’s edible. Always forage for mushrooms with an expert – otherwise, you could be in for an odd, psychedelic experience or worse.

2. Engraved garden tools

Personalised Garden Gift Set

Personalised gifts are memorable and will remind the individual of your thoughtfulness each time they use their tools in the garden!

There are some tools that no avid gardener can do without:

  • Gardening gloves to protect your hands from thorns
  • Measuring trowels for transplanting and digging small sections of soil
  • Plant mister for keeping plant leaves moist when the temperature is hot, and the air is dry
  • Decent soap for cleaning all the muck off your hands after a full-on gardening session

Luckily, all of these items are packaged together in a beautiful hessian sack with this kit – each item is personalised with a beautiful engraving of your choice.

So, if you’re looking for a great set of personalised gardening tools, look no further.

How cool are these?

3. A Robust Garden apron

Khaki and brown gardening apron

As we all know, gardening can be a dirty business. Whether you’re digging, re-potting, planting seeds, or just maintaining your plants, there’s plenty of opportunities to ruin your clothes.

Therefore, a garden apron is an essential accessory for anyone who loves nothing more than getting down and dirty in the garden.

This beautiful khaki garden apron is crafted from waterproof canvas, with a large central compartmentalised pocket to hold your trowels and seed packets and, of course, your phone.

Functionality aside, we love this stylish unisex garden apron at MOOWY – in muted autumnal colours; this would make a lovely, thoughtful gift.

4. Personalised garden gloves

Personalised Gardening Gloves

Every gardener needs a robust pair of gardening gloves. It’s not so much about keeping your hands clean (although they do help, of course), but it’s more about protecting your hands while you prune and chop. And, come late autumn/early winter, summer bush growth will start dying back.

So, if you want optimal growth next year, it’s essential to prune your bushes and shrubs.
But it’s scratchy work.

These excellent personalised garden gloves are durable but breathable, with strong leather palms for maximum protection. The backs of the gloves are flexible nylon that helps your skin breathe – no more sweaty hands!

What a thoughtful gift!

5. A Golden watering can

Watering Can,Gold

Everyone loves a bit of bling!

Watering cans come in a range of sizes. Your large, multi-litre watering can is great for irrigating large areas, but the water flow from the rose spout can damage small plants and seedlings.

So, a houseplant watering can is perfect for greenhouse watering (and, of course, houseplant watering!). The spout is long and thin – perfect for reaching the soil rather than spraying the leaves.

The thin spout flow makes it easy to gauge how much water you’re providing for your plant – you can’t always tell when you water the leaves.

This funky gold-coloured watering can holds 1 litre of water and makes for a super-stylish gift for a green-fingered friend. They’ll be the envy of the neighbours in no time!

6. Garden inspiration book

There has always been this idea that giving books as a present is a bit dull. At MOOWY we think giving a book makes a fantastic gift! Especially when this book is full of garden inspiration.

7. A Funky Firebasket

Funky fire basket with palm-leaf detail

Those of us lucky enough to have outdoor space have certainly made the most of it through the intermittent lockdowns of 2020/2021.

Homes with gardens are like hot cakes on the housing market these days, providing an escape from the isolation of the home. Indeed, the garden becomes another room of the house.

Of course, the optimal time for lounging in the garden is during the day when the sun is high in the sky. However, the garden makes an excellent venue for nighttime parties, even if the temperature drops.

This funky palm leaf cast iron fire basket would make a brilliant gift for garden lovers, allowing you to sit around a dancing, warming flame into the wee small hours.

Just make sure you don’t place this little firepit directly onto your lawn – put it on a raised platform to protect your grass!

8. Soil and Light tester

Soil acidity meter

All gardeners know that you need the correct type of soil or compost for plants to thrive. So, these affordable soil and light tester kits would make a great gift for a keen gardener.

These devices help control the soil’s pH level, testing for acidity or alkalinity to help the gardener create the most hospitable home for their plants.

Acidity is often localised – one part of the garden could have high acidity levels, making it great for acid-loving plants such as magnolias and Japanese anemones. Other areas might have more alkaline soil, making it perfect for geraniums, lavender, and dianthus.

Soil acidity can be affected by other plants. For example, pine needles that drop from pine trees make the soil acidic below the tree. You can add Lawn Lime to acid soil to neutralise it.

So, a soil and light tester gift helps your friend or family member identify where to plant their veg and bedding plants for the best chance of success.

9. Aerator sandals

Lawn Aerator sandals

Aerating your lawn is one of those essential garden tasks that lots of gardeners dread. If they have a large lawn, aerating can take forever. However, failure to regularly aerate the soil causes the earth to become compacted, making it difficult for deep grassroots to spread.

And strong roots make for healthier lawns.

These lawn aerator sandals might look a bit out of place on your average Paris catwalk, but they fit in nicely as part of your gardening arsenal. And any keen gardener will appreciate these in their Christmas stocking.

Lawn aerator sandals strap onto your shoes – the spikes on the bottom aerate the soil as you walk around your lawn.

They might look like torture weapons, but grass loves them!

10. A Bee hotel

Ceramic Bee Hotel

Our bees are facing an enormous crisis. Much of their natural habitat has been lost to urban buildings over the last 60 years, so our most essential pollinators are under serious threat.

Compounded by harsh pesticides, bees really are experiencing their nadir.

All gardeners love bees. They pollinate our crops and flowers and help the ecosystem of our gardens to flourish. So, this fabulous bee hotel would make a brilliant gift for your gardening chums – and, of course, the bees.

OK – it might not have a pool and room service, but bees just need a safe place to live and thrive. Because a healthy bee population keeps the human population intact, after all.

Get in touch

Hopefully, our list of fantastic garden gift ideas will make future birthdays and Christmases that little more straightforward. But if you know of a brilliant item that we’ve missed, please let us know, and we’ll include it in our list.

Get in touch with questions and suggestions at hello@moowy.co.uk. We love hearing from you!

Thanks for reading.