A manifesto to highlight the importance of gardens for wildlife is launched today.
The UK's leading wildlife and horticultural organisations, including the Natural History Museum, have joined Natural England in signing the Wildlife Gardening Manifesto.
'The gardens of England are under threat,' says Sir Martin Doughty, Chair of Natural England.
'In London, front gardens with an area 22 times the size of Hyde Park are now paved over and lost, reducing havens for wildlife, increasing the impact of flash flooding and contributing to climate change.'
A recent poll found that 45% of 18-34 year olds do not feel they are well informed about wildlife gardening and 37% of 18-24 year olds said they would like to do more but don't know how.
One of the best ways to encourage wildlife is to create a pond. Ponds should have a sloping side to let animals like frogs to get in and out easily. Even an upturned bin lid or a washing bowl will make a difference. Ponds are a great habitat for insects. Anything that encourages insects is beneficial as they are an important food source for many other creatures.
Some of the many other ways to entice wildlife into your garden are to make sure you have lots of bright flowers around that produce pollen and nectar - you can encourage wild flowers by leaving an area of grass unmown. Compost heaps are great, and a pile of logs or dead wood in a shady spot will be a refuge to garden wildlife. Try to avoid using chemical pesticides and leave food and water out for birds.
As well as helping the survival of many declining species, such as hedgehogs, frogs and bumblebees, wildlife gardens are good for people too. Research shows health, happiness and wellbeing is improved through contact with the natural environment.
'Through this manifesto, Natural England is calling to action businesses, the public sector and the public to play their part and give gardens a future - for the benefit of our own health and the survival of declining species, such as hedgehogs, frogs and bumblebees that live on our doorsteps.'