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Before you begin to create your bird garden you need to do some planning. We are assuming that you already have a garden with some planting in it and are not starting completely from scratch.

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There are some things that you won't be able to change about your garden such as its size and shape, immediate surroundings and where it is located, for example, whether it is urban, suburban or rural.

Also, be realistic about your ambitions. Trees take a long time to grow so if you don't already have mature trees then think about planting hedges or bushes instead. And don't worry if you only have a small garden or even a balcony. You can still plant shrubs or bushes and have somewhere for birds to feed, roost and nest.

First of all take stock of what is in your garden. It will help if you draw a rough plan and include the features it already has such as terrace, patio or decking areas, lawn, flower beds, shrubs and bushes, trees, rockeries, a pond and a wilderness area.

The ideal bird friendly garden should contain all of these features but don't worry if yours has just a few. Most gardens only have the first three or four to begin with.

You then need to think about how you can add or change the features to attract more birds. You don't need to make drastic changes. You'll probably still want to keep your lawn and flower beds but maybe you could lose part of your lawn to build a pond, or give over some of your flower beds to shrubs for nesting birds.

Ideally a finished bird friendly garden should have the following features:

A smaller lawn area with space for a bird table and bird bath.

Wide, more varied flower beds with a range or native plants with seed heads and berrys.

A large area or shrubs for nesting, roosting and feeing.

A wilderness area with seed-bearing plants and a small hay meadow.

A small pond with marshy edges.

A rockery with plenty of gaps for insects to live in.

A bird table, bird bath, feeding stations and nest boxes.

Even if you can only have two of three of these features in your garden then you will begin to attract more birds and you can always add more features over time.

Once you have a basic plan for your garden you can now choose the types of plants that will attract birds.

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