9 min read | June 16, 2023

Increase Biodiversity in Your Home

Promoting biodiversity doesn't have to be a grand initiative solely for large corporations or governments - it can start from the comfort of your own home.

Promoting biodiversity doesn't have to be a grand initiative solely for large corporations or governments - it can start from the comfort of your own home. Whether you are building a new home, extending your current one, or simply looking to enhance your living space's eco-friendliness, you can play a significant part in maintaining and enhancing our planet's biodiversity.

Meeting Biodiversity Net Gain Requirements in New Builds

If you are embarking on a construction project like building a new house, the new Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) requirements in the Environment Act will undoubtedly be relevant. These regulations necessitate a 10% uplift in biodiversity post-development compared to pre-development conditions.

Naturally, understanding and complying with these requirements can be a challenge, especially if you are unfamiliar with environmental conservation. Thankfully, digital tools from Joe's Blooms can simplify this process. Our digital platform helps you evaluate your construction project's potential biodiversity impact and guides you towards achieving the necessary 10% uplift. Moreover, it aids in complying with best practices and completing all necessary paperwork efficiently. Please click here to see how we can help you. 

Enhancing Biodiversity in Home Extensions

While building an extension to your existing home does not legally require adherence to BNG, we believe in promoting biodiversity in every possible way. Therefore, you may choose to abide by these principles voluntarily, contributing to the larger goal of safeguarding our environment.

Just as with new builds, Joe's Blooms' digital tools can be an invaluable resource for your extension project. Quickly and effectively, you can evaluate the biodiversity impact of your build and develop an optimal plan to enhance biodiversity in your surroundings.

Creating a Biodiversity Offset

If you're a landowner with a keen interest in conservation, you might consider creating a biodiversity offset. To do so, you'll need to calculate your land's existing biodiversity (ensuring you legally own the land) and explore methods to secure an uplift.

Your commitment to maintaining these biodiversity gains for a minimum of 30 years is critical in the offset creation process. Joe's Blooms' digital tools can be a great asset in this endeavour, helping you analyse your land, identify uplift opportunities, and abide by all legal requirements.

Encouraging Biodiversity Beyond BNG

Although BNG offers a structured approach to enhancing biodiversity, there are countless other actions we can take at home to support this cause. There are countless good things you can do, but here are a few to get you started. To stress, these are ideas that are outside the BNG process - but they are good practice and we would always recommend looking at doing these things, as they are the right thing to do. 

Planting trees. Planning urban or rural trees can have a massive impact on local biodiversity - as well as do an incredible amount of social good. As well as being places that so many species call home, trees cool their surrounding environment through shading. The roots of trees not only protect the soil from erosion but also facilitate its aeration, thereby improving soil health and quality. 

Tree leaves also act as natural filters, absorbing harmful pollutants and dust from the air, contributing significantly to urban air quality improvement. On top of all this, the soil at the base of these trees can be used to grow herbs, flowers, or small shrubs to provide a further boost to local biodiversity. 

Unleash the wild side of your garden. If you're fortunate to have a garden, you can dedicate a small area for 'wild' growth, or leave a patch of fallen leaves untouched. These natural spaces can be a haven for insects, birds, and small mammals. Creating a wild area can be done simply: reduced mowing allows existing wildflowers and grasses to grow, bloom, and set seeds. 

This not only improves the overall floral diversity of the grassland but also provides more resources, like seeds, for a wider variety of wildlife such as seed-feeding birds. (Though it should be noted that grass can sometimes grow quite rapidly, affecting the balance of your garden ecosystem. Yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor) is a native, semi-parasitic plant that can help to control this. It taps into the root system of grasses, suppressing their growth and creating a more open vegetation structure. This allows a greater diversity of wild plants to grow, enriching the biodiversity of your garden or land). 

Promote native plant species. This is when you want to go a bit further than just letting part of your garden go wild and, instead, really want to help things along. If you want to encourage this process, introducing wildflower seeds and plug plants to your garden can significantly increase floral diversity at a relatively low cost. These can be planted or scattered into spaces in existing grassy areas between April and May after the main frosts have finished. 

Native plants, particularly those attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects, are ideal for promoting biodiversity. If garden space is limited, consider a window box or hanging basket (see below). This approach creates a more diverse habitat and provides a substantial resource boost for pollinating invertebrates like bees, crucial for supporting healthy ecosystems.

You may want to see if your home is near a B-line, in which case you may want to invest in plants for pollinators. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) produces annually updated lists of plants suitable for pollinators.

Set up a plant container garden. If you're working with limited green space, container gardens can be an excellent solution. You can use a variety of containers, from hanging baskets and window-boxes to tubs and pots. These can accommodate a range of plants including native wildflowers, ornamental flowers, shrubs, and herbs. 

Consult your local Wildlife Trust for advice on suitable suppliers. Again, aim to use native species that attract invertebrates and supplement with suitable ornamental species as needed. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) produces annually updated lists of plants suitable for pollinators. 

Install bird boxes, bat roosts and/or insect hotels. Artificial bee nesting boxes and habitats for wildlife, also known as bug hotels, can provide important refuges, nesting sites, and overwintering locations for a variety of invertebrates. These can be bought or created at home using natural materials. The right placement and secure installation are crucial. On top of this, a bird feeder or nest box is a great addition to any outdoor space, even a balcony! For those with gardens, consider adding a bird bath too. 

There are so many things you can add - maybe think about installing a bat box, hedgehog house, or bug hotel. These will offer invaluable shelter for various species, particularly during the colder months. If you have a fence, consider adding a hedgehog hole. And don’t underestimate the huge impact some water can have (if space is tight, an old washing-up bowl can serve as an excellent mini pond).

If you're purchasing a bug hotel or bee nests, ensure you're choosing a design that's beneficial for the insects. Poorly designed artificial nesting sites could have a negative impact on solitary bee populations due to increased parasitism. You can also create these habitats yourself by drilling into logs, following instructions from trusted organisations like the RSPB and the Wildlife Trust.

Get logging: If possible, leave a small pile of logs in the garden. Many species, like the stag beetle, depend on rotting wood, but it's often removed from our gardens. Leaving some logs out in the wild and you will see a huge boon in biodiversity as species dash towards it.

Promoting biodiversity isn't a one-off act. It's a long-term commitment to doing our part in sustaining life on Earth. Whether it's through complying with BNG requirements or simple actions like planting native species, every step counts. Let's nurture our natural world, starting from our homes!

Oliver Lewis

Oliver Lewis

Founder of Joe’s Blooms
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Oliver Lewis is the founder of Joe’s Blooms, providing end-to-end digital solutions to help you create best-in-class Biodiversity Gain Plans. Expert in this field, he shares his knowledge on the Environment Bill.

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