Making the most of your garden woodpile

By Paul Hervey-Brooks, March 17

Making the most of your garden woodpile

Woodpiles help make the garden wildlife-friendly, are easy to build and require little maintenance. Hard and softwood of different sizes can be used, leaving holes large enough for amphibians to hibernate in. Avoid using treated, painted or chemically preserved wood.

Find a shady area in the garden or a suitable tree or shrub to build under. At the base of your log pile try half burying some logs in the ground as these will remain damp and encourage invertebrates such as woodlice. Wood does not have to placed in a structured shape - in fact a messy wood pile left undisturbed is vital to wildlife, but as mother nature isn’t too selective you can create some thing ‘designer’ like this upright woodpile I made for Harrogate Borough Council.

Dead branches and logs piled in a corner or under a hedge and left to rot will soon provide you with an array of different visitors many of which are friendly increasing pollination and eating unwanted insect pests.

Fungi and moss will grow on a damp woodpile creating another layer of habitat to the pile.  

Visitors to a woodpile can vary from centipedes, stag horns beetle, and lacewings to frogs and newts.

The hedgehog is a gardener's friend and likes to hibernate from November to mid March. The woodpile will provide an attractive nesting place as well as a source of food. A sustainable hedgehog house incorporated within the woodpile is ideal.


Paul has his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks and Spencers.

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