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Make a wildlife stack

Wildlife stack

Image: John Day

This incredible 5-star luxury wildlife hotel is easy to make. You’ll be surprised how many of the materials you already have lying around your home and garden. All you need is a steady hand to pile them up!

Made of recycled materials, wildlife stacks replicate natural features sought by wildlife in your garden - particularly by invertebrates such as ladybirds, many of which help control less welcome visitors. Wildlife stacks also provide refuges for frogs, toads and hedgehogs.

You can make your stack as large or as small as you wish - the only limitations are your imagination. Be creative and provide lots of nooks and crannies using the materials at your disposal.

Building a wildlife stack won’t just benefit wildlife - you’ll have the pleasure of being able to watch a host of different creatures making their homes and learn all about their fascinating behaviour at close quarters.

Wildlife stacks make an interesting alternative where it's not possible to have or include natural features in your garden. They're not a substitute for well structured vegetation and dead and decaying wood though, so ideally, try and provide them as well.

Getting started

  • Choose a level, firm site in the sunlight or light shade - most invertebrates prefer moist areas of dappled shade. Find somewhere easily visible, perhaps close to a hedge, shrub bed or pond.
  • Arrange some bricks on the ground on their side. If you have those with holes in them, face the holes outwards. If not, butt a pair of bricks together side by side and leave a small gap before the next pair. Try creating ‘H’ shaped cells of bricks and fill the space between with woodchips, leaf litter and sand (frogs and toads like to bury themselves into sand and soft soil).
  • Lay a wooden pallet or strips of wood across the top of your bricks and then construct the next level in the same way. Remember to fill the gaps with your materials like hay, straw, dry leaf litter and wood chippings. Straw will provide nesting sites for ladybirds and thin twigs will provide shelter for larger insects. Place another pallet across the top and repeat. Logs and pine cones will provide extra homes for all sorts of insects.
  • Keep your stack dry with roof tiles or a sheet of board covered in roofing felt or polythene. On top of this, place crushed brick rubble, concrete or limestone chippings and plant with sedum or other low growing drought tolerant plants.

What you need

The following list is for guidance only - and is in no way exhaustive.

Pallets, or strips of wood
Pen casings and drinking straws
Cardboard tubes and corrugated card
Straw, hay, dry leaf litter and moss
Plant pots
Plastic and ceramic pipes of various diameter
Roofing felt
Bricks and concrete blocks, preferably with holes
Roof tiles
Hollow bamboo canes
Dead hollow stems cut from shrubs and herbaceous plants
Logs drilled with various sized holes
Crushed brick and concrete rubble
Succulent plants

How you can help

Tell us about your garden and we’ll provide you with tailored wildlife-gardening advice!

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