As autumn approaches, gardeners are being given advice on how to attract and protect wildlife.
Experts at GardeningExpress.co.uk have put together their tips on how to attract wildlife including birds and hedgehogs to your garden as the temperature begins to drop.
As autumn approaches, many wildlife species will be looking for a place to stay and hibernate as the cold months pass.
Gardens across the country will be acting as a home and there are small things that gardeners can do to help attract wildlife and provide them with a safe space.
Chris Bonnett from Gardening Express said: "It can be really fun to see what wildlife comes into your garden and it's also a great activity for kids to get involved with.
"The general rule of thumb is not to tidy your garden too much ahead of autumn. Doing simple things like gathering piles of leaves, providing water and creating compost heaps will easily attract wildlife like birds, hedgehogs and toads.
"Attracting wildlife also means that we can ensure they're protected and have a cool dry place to stay until the spring. Doing these small things really is little to no hassle."
How to attract wildlife to your garden:
- Gather leaves
Hedgehogs will be looking for somewhere warm to spend the next few months and they love leaves. Creating a large pile of them in the corner of the garden is the perfect way to attract our spikey little friends in the autumn.
- Get twigs together
Similar to leaves, gathering twigs and placing them at the back of the garden will invite small mammals and invertebrates and give them a place to stay.
- Put out food and water for birds
Frost and ice means that birds often struggle to find food for their families. Creating easy access for food will attract them to your garden. You can even make DIY bird feeders if you don't fancy buying one. Simply get some empty cans (make sure the edges aren't sharp), lay it on its side, tie a string around it and use this to attach it to a branch. Fill the inside with bird feeder and get ready for some visitors.
- Leave out plant pots
If you have any spare plant pots that are not currently in use, they make for a great shelter for bees and insects. Just turn them upside down, stack them on top of one another and this will give insects a cool dry place to stay.
- Take care of your ponds
If you have a small pond in your garden, be sure to remove any debris and place inflatable balls on top or something like a golf ball to help prevent ice from sealing the pond off. This gives frogs a place to stay for the autumn and winter.