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Wildlife-friendly town garden

This garden had just about survived three separate sets of building work to the house but with the lawn in disrepair and the death of a once-handsome flowering cherry tree it was time to rethink the garden design altogether.

This is a family garden but as the children grow older the need for space to play a bit of football decreases, as the desire for somewhere to sit, relax and and eat outside increases. The householders were also keen to attract wildlife and pollinators to the garden, with small trees suitable for an urban garden, bee-friendly flowers, and wide planting beds with a mix of shrubs and perennials to provide wildlife habitats.

Two high raised beds were built to border the patio immediately outside the back door and the canopy of the bay tree raised so that an outdoor dining table could fit easily underneath, providing shade in summer. The lawn was removed to be replaced with a gravel path leading to a seating area beyond the patio, then winding through the planting to the shed, potting area and the rear gate.

The garden is generally overlooked by neighbours and trees were planted for screening: the fig at the bottom of the garden provides good cover from spring to autumn – and delicious fruit in late summer – while the mature tree peony and the bay tree screen from neighbours to the right hand side.

Alliums, lavender, roses, echinacea and salvia all attract bees and other pollinating insects. Bird feeders bring in small garden birds such as goldfinches, nuthatches and blue and great tits, which also enjoy feasting on the seedheads of Verbena bonariensis, agapanthus and fennel, which are left for them overwinter.

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