A bug hotel comprised of logs, wooden planks and hollow sticks

Love your logs and leaves

No matter how big or small your space is, whether it's a blank canvas or well-established, if you’ve got loads of experience or none whatsoever – anyone can do this, and our nature needs you. It’s easy to help the nature on your doorstep.

Just leaf it

Looking for an easy way to breathe a bit of life into your outdoor space? Well one of the simplest things to do is to make use of the bits and pieces that we often tidy away. Dead leaves, fallen branches, old logs, dry stems – they all count. Gathered together, they can create a lovely pile of goodness that can help your garden grow and encourage more birds, bees and other wildlife to visit.

A person with a rake clearing up leaves

Do lots while doing little!

Watch as our wildlife gardening guru, Adrian Thomas, guides you through how to turn your patch into paradise, bring you great pleasure and boost the wildlife you’ll see and hear. And you don’t even have to be green-fingered to achieve it!

Song thrush pulling a worm from the ground

The glorious circle of life

Plants don't stop being useful once they finish growing - far from it. All the goodness that’s stored in those spent leaves, stems and trunks can be returned to the garden where it came from. In doing so, you not only help wildlife, but you nourish your soil at the same time.


A whole army of wildlife help out with the decomposition process – everything from woodlice and worms to bacteria and fungi. And if you were thinking some of those don’t sound very nice, don’t worry. These are the nice sort, not the kind you want to get rid of. Without them, the natural world wouldn’t work the way it does.

A hedgehog forages for food by a pond

Help for hedgehogs, birds and more

Even if you aren’t into the creepy crawlies in amongst the composting materials, just think how they are helping fuel the whole web of life. They in turn provide food for larger wildlife. These minibeasts are at the foot of the food chain that ends up with all the glorious birds and other wildlife.
Those piles of gently rotting matter also provide a safe and often warm home to all sorts of wildlife, too. Piles of leaves are where you will often find hedgehogs hibernating; frogs and toads may shelter in the moist shade of a log pile; blackbirds and wrens will nest in large stick piles.

A man examining multiple pieces of dead wood

Help for your flowers and plants too

Once those lovely piles have rotted down, you’ll have a great home-made compost. This is perfect for spreading on your soil to give your flowers and plants nutrients to help them grow.
The mention of ‘rot’ may conjure thoughts of smelliness, but decomposing logs, sticks and leaves don’t have much of an aroma at all – just a faint scent of woodlands. If you have a compost heap, as long as you mix green (leafy) material with brown (sticks, twigs, ripped up cardboard), you shouldn’t have a problem either. Though, piles of wet grass clippings with no brown material added are likely to whiff!

A stack of logs and pinecones

Get creative with your logs

All these rotting things offer a wonderful opportunity to exercise your creative side. Logs don’t just have to be piled up willy-nilly (unless you like them like that!) You can arrange them artistically. Same with sticks. And leaves? Well, you don’t need to do any more than just rake them under a bush and nature will do the rest.

A few handy hints

  • Location, location, location – where you put the logs and leaves will affect the wildlife that uses it
  • A log in a damp corner will be a boom for beetles
  • Solitary bees prefer a sunny spot and will use any suitable sized hole to lay their eggs
  • Size matters – five minutes with a drill will massively expand solitary bee’s range of hole choices
  • Go peat-free making your own compost is easy especially as it means you’re helping to save valuable natural habitats.

 

Child holding up a worm to look at it
Wellies planted with flowers

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A blurred version Nature on your doorstep garden

33 wildlife garden ideas

Choose the perfect gardening activities for you and your outdoor space.