Garden for a living London

Garden for a living London

Credit Paul Harris/2020VISION

We all have the power and responsibility to make a huge difference. 

 
So we are asking gardeners to take urgent action now and pledge to Garden for a Living London.

 

Help transform the capital's three million gardens into a network of nature reserves
 

There are over three million gardens in Greater London - 3,267,174 to be precise. That's an area of 37,942.09 hectares*.
 
In the face of climate change and habitat fragmentation, this massive expanse of green space has enormous untapped potential for both people and wildlife.
 
However, worrying research by London Wildlife Trust shows that London's gardens are changing from green to grey.
 
Garden greenspace in the capital's gardens has been lost at a rate of two and a half Hyde Parks per year - driven by recent trends in garden design.
 
We need to reverse this trend!
 
London Wildlife Trust's Garden for a Living London campaign is calling on city gardeners to pledge to do one thing to create a wildlife and climate friendly garden, and help transform the capital's three million gardens into a network of mini nature reserves.
Garden heart

Three million mini nature reserves
 

The Garden for a Living London campaign aims to highlight the incredible importance of the capital's gardens to wildlife and to people. In urban areas especially, gardens will help reduce the impacts of climate change.
 
They provide shade, absorb carbon, soak up flood water, retain water and help to cool the city.
 
They also provide vital habitat for wildlife, and a strong network of wildlife and climate-friendly gardens stretching across the capital will provide room for species to move freely and adapt to our changing climate.
 
The fact there are over three million gardens in Greater London shows just how important a resource they are.

 

Wildlife gardening guides
 

London Wildlife Trust has come up with six gardening actions that would help create a 'Living London' - a city more resilient to climate change and better for wildlife:
 

Plant drought-resistant plants

Drought-resistant plants that are good for wildlife provide food and shelter for birds and insects.

As our summers become drier due to climate change, drought-tolerant plants reduce the need to water your garden.

 

Our 'how to' guide will tell you which plants are best

Large white butterfly credit Megan Lowe

Plant a mixed hedgerow

A mixed hedgerow provides food, nesting places and shelter for lots of birds, mammals and insects.

Hedges also create cool, shady places in what otherwise might be a hot, exposed site.

 

Read our 'how to' guide and start planting your hedgerow

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) hedge in blossom at RSPB's Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire. May 2011. - Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

Make a pond

Ponds greatly improve a garden's wildlife potential. Even small ponds can support a rich diversity of wildlife and provide places for animals to bathe, drink and mate.

A series of ponds in a neighbourhood creates essential corridors for wildlife to move and adapt to climate change.

Read our 'how to' guide and start making your pond

Wild about ponds launch credit Penny Dixie

Add a green roof to your shed

Living roofs increase the planting area in your garden and provide extra wildlife habitat.

They also absorb rainwater and can help to stabilise the temperature of a building.

 

Read our 'how to' guide and start creating a green roof on your shed

Biting stonecrop credit Philip Precey

Wild up your decking

Adding planted containers to your wooden decking creates refuges for animals as they travel through your garden.

There's very little that won’t grow in a container. The result can be an attractive and rich green space that benefits people and wildlife.

Read our 'how to' guide now and start wilding up your decking

Credit Gillian Day

Use mulch

Mulch provides cover for small animals and, as it breaks down, it enriches the soil and provides nourishment for plants. These in turn encourage more wildlife into your garden.

Adding a thick layer of mulch to your soil is one of the easiest and most useful jobs you can do to reduce the severity of climate change.

Read our 'how to' guide and start mulching

Credit Penny Dixie

Last but not least...

Take care of our feathered friends

By purchasing your bird food from Vine House Farm you can enjoy feeding your garden birds whilst also knowing you are directly supporting wildlife in London and across the UK.

Shop now

Robin credit Matthew Rich 

Research behind the campaign
 

* 3,267,174 gardens and 37,942.09 hectares source: Greenspace information for Greater London (GiGL).
 
GiGL is the capital's open space and biodiversity records centre - they collate, manage and make available detailed information on London's wildlife, parks, nature reserves, gardens and other open spaces.
 
The figures include both front and back gardens, so in some instances there are two gardens per household.
 
The figures are based on Ordnance Survey Mastermap vector GIS dataset.
 
Specifically, the calculations are based on a subset of this data where the legend attribute is '0000 Multiple surface (garden)' (which is itself added to the OS data by Dotted Eye's Interpose software during the conversion from GML to TAB format) and each feature is within the Greater London area (which includes all 33 boroughs).
 
One-fifth of London is made up of gardens according to the Mayor's Biodiversity Strategy, 2002.