LACEWING GARDEN DESIGN
For wildlife, for people
Across the country, many gardens provide few opportunities for wildlife, with grass lawns and hard surfaces (paving and decking) dominating.
Our view is that it’s time to change how we see gardens, by shifting from the stereotypes (requiring chemical additives and regular watering to look good) to a more naturally-beautiful and sustainable space that offers more to treasured and priceless wildlife.
Gardens can provide havens for many of the species declining in the increasingly intensively-farmed countryside. In the face of climate change, gardens will help our wildlife adapt.
Lacewing Garden Design wants to counter the problems faced by wildlife today, by acting to make a positive and lasting change for wildlife - and tomorrow’s children.
Lacewing Garden Design is a small, wildlife-wise garden design practice based in Oundle, east Northamptonshire, established and directed by James Gilbert, an ecologist with knowledge and experience garnered in a 17+ years consultancy career. James is a Full Member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology & Environmental Management and a Chartered Environmentalist.
Lacewing Garden Design was conceived from an increasing awareness and undoubting realisation of the current plight faced by wildlife (here in the UK and world-wide) and the need to act on this. The 2019 State of Nature report informs us that UK wildlife is in trouble and many species of insects, birds and amphibians are in decline because of human activity. Habitats and species are now under unprecedented pressure from the inter-related threats of human-induced pollution, climate change, over-population and over-consumption.
Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation combine to threaten wildlife. The speed and extent at which this is happening is unprecedented. There is an urgency to recognise gardens as an important refuge/resource for wildlife.
Coupled with this concern for wildlife - and somewhat poignantly - there is an increasing body of evidence highlighting the importance of nature in relieving the 'weight' of modern life. Humans have an innate attraction and genetic connection to the natural world and this needs to be restored; nature needs us – and ultimately, we depend on it to survive. (Re)connecting with nature is shown to have a significant, positive effect on our health and well-being. Nature is imperative to people’s quality of life, i.e. mental health, happiness and well-being, more than ever in today’s fast-paced and seemingly smaller world.
Here in the UK, 72% of land is used for agriculture and 13% for forestry; that's 85% of the country! If all UK gardens were turned into nature-friendly spaces, a ‘nature reserve’ of over 430,000 hectares in size would result (more than four times the surface area of all the National Nature Reserves combined).
Charities such as the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the WWT do a significant amount of good in protecting and conserving nature but individuals and society have a responsibility to act. There is so much more that can and needs to be done if we want to stop wildlife from forever disappearing from our lives and from our children’s and grandchildren’s lives. Choosing to create space for wildlife is a significant way we as individuals and collectively as a society, can act.
Gardens are where many children make their first connection with nature, acting as an outdoor learning and play space. Gardens are also sometimes the only places where adults see wildlife that isn’t on a screen.
Anyone can do something positive for wildlife of some kind and at some scale. Of course, the collective effect of family, friends and neighbours getting involved too and doing similar with any space they have is even better!
“Spending time with nature offers us all precious breathing space away from the stresses and strains of modern life, it enables us to experience joy and wonder, to slow down and to appreciate the wildlife that lives side-by-side with us.”
Sir David Attenborough, 2018