Sustainable Wildlife Gardening

Ref: C3675431

Ever wondered what makes a garden attractive to wildlife? Using nature-inspired sustainable design principles, this course explores the steps that go into making a successful wildlife garden. Beginning with a survey of the on-site garden the course will develop skills including: drawing scaled plans; understanding good design; plant knowledge; sustainable vegetable growing; natural pest control; and maintaining healthy soil. This will be delivered alongside practical sessions in the garden covering everything from identifying wildlife-friendly plants to creating raised beds and making bug hotels. All of which will be achieved without chemicals and by using resources wisely. The course provides a basic foundation in both practical gardening skills and plant theory, preparing students for further progression opportunities including the WEA course 'Gardening for Pleasure' or college courses in Horticulture and Landscape Maintenance.

Course aim

Following sustainable design principles you will learn how to create a dynamic garden that is fit for wildlife, for growing food and for pleasure. Whether you are a complete novice or a keen gardener, this course will build your plant knowledge.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand the role gardening plays within a broader ecological and social context. Students will learn how to interpret, and take inspiration from, nature to create varied and sustainable habitats that support a broad range of wildlife.
  • Improve critical capacities so that you can think about plants in a functional way and become familiar with the 'right plant, right place' concept.
  • Gain practical gardening skills including: planting techniques and aftercare; sustainable soil management; natural methods of pest control; and making habitats for beneficial insects.
  • Apply the survey skills that are the foundation for analysing growing conditions and identifying challenges. Students will demonstrate this knowledge by designing with plants that are appropriate to both the site conditions and the garden users.
  • Create the site plans that form the basis for any garden design or landscaping project. This will include an introduction to scaled drawing, how to measure planting areas and choosing the correct number of plants to fill the space.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Please always wear footwear and clothing that is appropriate for working outside in the garden. Be prepared for all different types of weather - the outdoor portion of the course will only be rescheduled due to severe weather.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full course information sheet

Sustainable Wildlife Gardening


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

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