A customer from North Yorkshire recently purchased a NatureArk. Read on for her overview of why she chose to use NatureArk and a Q&A of her install experience.
“Although well-established and mature, our garden was very overgrown when we moved here so it was one of the first projects we undertook. While cutting back some large unruly shrubs we came across a ‘secret door’ that we decided we should keep exposed. Unfortunately, this left us with a problem when it came to planting anything here because the door is positioned in the corner of the garden where there are a number of protected trees so it’s damp and in shade for the majority of the day. We could have planted another shrub, but we didn’t want it to block the view of the door and the ground in that area is very hard and subsequently, difficult to dig. Leaves and twigs drop in that part of the garden all year round so a flowerbed would be quite ‘messy’ with foliage.
“We struggled to decide what to do with it, so this space ended up being neglected for approximately 10 years. During lockdown we revisited our garden project and as luck would have it, we were also introduced to the NatureArk. We decided to build a timber framed gazebo in one half of this wasteland area and turn the patch of land in front of the secret door into a more natural woodland area. We waited for a rainy spell so we would find digging the soil a little easier (we also drenched the soil in water (from the water butt) for 24hrs beforehand) and dug up as much as we could under the trees before scattering a mixture of daffs and crocus. We then covered the bulbs with the soil, scattered some woodland seeds and then applied a thick layer of bark mulch.
“The NatureArk is positioned to the left of the secret door against the old wall with the hedgehog house facing towards the bird table and the amphibian home facing towards the woody area, where we are planning on installing a small pond area. That whole area is all newly planted so, apart from the NatureArk, it currently looks quite bare but we’re hoping by this time next year it will have come to life.”
1. What are you doing for Biodiversity in your space and why?
We’ve always had the usual things; a bird table, a bird bath, lots of feeders and a small hedgehog house (which has never been inhabited!) because we like to see and learn about nature.
2. Why were you attracted to NatureArk?
The NatureArk offered us a fun way to boost biodiversity in our garden and gave us the perfect solution to planting something natural in an area that was difficult to dig. It’s also nice to have something to break up the standard looking border. It stands out and makes a statement – it even makes the garden look more interesting when it’s rainy and miserable outside. We’ve always been keen to have a pond area and the NatureArk is a great way of making it all work together.
3. How did Installation go?
Really easy. My daughter (age 10) and I managed it between us. The installation itself only took about 3hrs but because we decided to stain the wood, it ended up being a weekend project.
4. How have you used NatureArk so far and what responses have you had?
So far, we’ve used the NatureArk to learn about the importance of using a non-toxic wood stain and the impact a toxic wood stain would have on a unit like the NatureArk, if we were to use it. Trying to find a non-toxic wood stain was a project in itself, but we got there in the end! We’ve learnt about the different habitats and what materials certain species like to have in their habitats. We’ve used it to learn about the different types of soil (I’ve learnt a lot about the importance of soil safety and buying peat-free!) and we’ve also learnt a lot about the plants we chose to fill the NatureArk. We wanted something pretty but being Autumn, we wanted some colour in the garden. We also knew we needed them to do a good job of attracting pollinators – my daughter enjoyed scouring the nursery for plants that fulfilled the brief. We’ve installed an outdoor camera and we’re enjoying seeing all the wildlife activity so far.
5. How do think NatureArk has changed the way you feel about your garden, and Biodiversity?
It’s definitely made what once was an unused area of the garden, look interesting and inviting. Because we have the NatureArk plaque in place, it encourages conversation – people want to know what it is and what it does. It’s provided us with an area to plant flowers and herbs where it wouldn’t have been possible before and when we have installed the pond area, the whole NatureArk/pond/woodland will work well together to boost biodiversity.
6. Overall, what would you say about BioScapes and would you recommend to others?
We love our NatureArk and have never seen a product like it. I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to do a simple and effective eco-project in their garden.