At home with nature

Promoting biodiversity in your home garden is a brilliant way to preserve nature and support a healthy habitat in your community. And it doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or make your garden look more of a safari than a sanctuary.

At St. Modwen Homes, we’re committed to biodiversity and protecting our native species. Whether it’s going the extra mile to preserve and improve existing natural habitats on our developments or by including special biodiversity features in our properties, we do all we can to ensure that local wildlife isn’t impacted by the homes we build.

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Hedgehog Highways

Hedgehogs travel around one mile every night through our parks and gardens in their quest to find enough food and a mate, so you have an enclosed garden you might be getting in the way of their plans. Hedgehog highways in simple terms are a hole constructed somewhere at the bottom of your fence to allow hedgehogs to move through gardens safely.

We’ve been adding hedgehog highways to fences in the gardens of the homes we build for a while now, and we think it’s one of the easiest ways of adapting your garden to help our spikey friends.

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Bee Hotels

Bee hotels are a great way to help our solitary bees, as much of their natural habitat has been built on or destroyed. As their name suggests, solitary bees don’t live in colonies — unlike bumblebees and honey bees.

Solitary bees, such as mining bees, flower bees, leafcutter bees and mason bees, account for the vast majority of an estimated 275 British species, alongside 26 bumblebees and 1 species of honey bee. Bee hotels are great for providing much-needed shelter to some of these species that have lost their natural habitats.

You can buy bee hotels from most garden centres, but we think its more fun to make you own!

Food for birds all year round image
Food for birds all year round

While we know that birds need extra help during the winter months when food is scarce, it’s actually a really good idea to ensure that you’re putting out food all year round.

Ideally, offer a mix of food including peanuts, sunflower hearts, seeds, kitchen scraps and fat balls, or proprietary seed mixtures, to supplement natural food such as berries and seedheads. Don’t forget that a supply of clean, unfrozen water is just as vital for feathered visitors – and ensure feeding tables are not accessible to cats.

You can buy a multi-purpose bird table from most garden retailers, but it’s fun to build something from scratch – recycling materials from other DIY projects.

Scatter wildflower seeds

An affordable and simple way to add some much-needed habitat for insects, we’ve have lost 96% of our diverse, species-rich meadows since the 1950s, so re-creating them in the garden can help redress the balance.

Annual meadows have a mix of annual wildflowers such as poppies, Nigella, corn marigolds and annual grasses; they will succeed on fairly rich soils, too, but a suitable seed mix usually needs to be re-sown each year.

Perennial meadows have more permanent plants such as buttercups, ragged robin and Leucanthemum.

Create a compost bin

Not only a great way to make your own rich compost, but a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to dispose of all of your vegetable cuttings, coffee granules and eggshells. Compost is also a fantastic home for lots of small creatures. It also attracts hedgehogs, birds and frogs, who feed on the smaller animals and insects. And the list doesn’t stop there – due to the heat created from the decomposition, you might even spot a grass snake!

A pile of dead wood? (Let us explain!)

Decaying wood provides an ever-rarer habitat to a range of specialist wildlife that is growing increasingly uncommon in the countryside, such as stag and bark beetles and their grubs, and many species of fungi. It also provides cover and hibernation sites. Any unstained or unpainted wood works, although big, natural logs are best, ideally partly buried. Log piles can look quite architectural and rustic, though many people prefer to tuck them out of sight.

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