Author: Emily Kench

Warm summer days, alfresco living, bees buzzing on the flowers, beetles crawling across the lawn... The scene in gardens up and down the country. Yet, if like me you reside in a terraced townhouse in the city, you may lack the confidence to recreate this vision in your own concrete jungle.

Photo credit:  Jesper Mattias

Photo credit: Eleanor Bentall

My own patch of paving meets the concrete criteria but not the jungle. Its diversity extends to a Christmas tree that neither I or my housemates can be bothered to drive to the dump, a few bulbs in raised beds and a pond void of anything other than a scraggly aerator.

The only additional features are three old tyres and a beautifully sanded pallet – the consequence of my half-hearted attempt to make recycled garden furniture, that like so many of my well-meaning ideas amounted to nothing.

‘We’ (the royal we) have decided it would be ‘prettier’ and ‘sensible’ to put these DIY dreams to rest; take the tyres and pallets for scrap and purchase a nice set of second hand furniture online. Outwardly I nod along to these somewhat boring plans, but little do they know I am plotting.

This weekend, whilst they are off seeing boyfriends, skiing in the Alps, and nursing post-birthday hangovers, I will be recreating that gorgeous Spring scene. They might even thank me.


Giving nature a home

According to Kirsty and Phil, it’s all about location, location, location. So, I reckon I should play to the market that has already shown an interest in my garden, which to date includes a bachelor frog who hangs around the back door looking for a lady, and a handful of insects.

Photo credit: Eleanor Bentall

 Planting a bee bistro: Old tyres are great planters and often free! To fill the garden with busy bees, plant a selection bee-friendly plants. Bees feast on the nectar of different plants all year round, but now is a good time to start planting for summer: allium, borage, catmint, foxglove, and most herbs will throng with all manner of different wild bees.

Photo credit: Grahame Madge

Building a bug bungalow: Given the size of my garden, a bug hotel might be a little imposing and a bug bungalow a little more fitting. To start, a layer of bricks displayed in an ‘H’ shape will provide the foundations for the bug bungalow. Once the foundations are laid, the pallet can be positioned. For a vogue interior, one section will be stuffed with branches and dead wood from the forgotten Christmas tree for all creepy crawly guests. Modern arrangements of stones offer damp areas for amorous amphibians like my resident bachelor frog. Dry leaves mimic a fashionable forest floor and king-sized bed of straw is perfect for ladybirds of the night. Finally for a vintage twist, finish with old roof tiles to keep the rain out.


Photo credit: Andy Hay

Photo credit: Eleanor Bentall

Photo credit: Eleanor Bentall

For full instructions on these and other ways to create a home for wildlife in your garden, visit


Photo credit: Andy Hay

Event listing

Heart and sole wellbeing walk

Friday 31 March, 7:00 am

Price: £4 per adult (£3 RSPB member)

Booking essential

Start your day with an invigorating walk around RSPB Snettisham reserve. Discover breathtaking landscapes teaming with wildlife. This early morning stroll will take you onto the beach where you can enjoy panoramic views across The Wash. Look out for early spring flowers, ring ouzels and mad March hares. Please telephone Titchwell Marsh reserve on 01485 210779 for booking information.

To see our range of products for your garden visit our online shop.

A list of available RSPB membership packages could be found here.