“Have you seen the new neighbours?!” 8 ways to welcome garden wildlife into your outdoor spaces.

Creating a welcoming environment in our gardens for wildlife such as birds, insects and other animals not only benefits our friendly neighbourhood critters, it can also be a fun and rewarding activity - both the creating and subsequent garden watching! Here are our 8 favourite ways to become garden wildlife’s new best friend:

1. Let it grow!

The uncut lawn: one of nature’s rarest and richest wildlife habitats. But before committing to jungle life, a small area of overgrown lawn will do! Cultivating this mini wilderness will be a big draw for little mammals like shrews and voles because it offers a banquet of tasty insects and protection from predators.

If you want to entice some larger foragers, a pile of dead wood encourages beetles and grubs which will do just the trick!

Take it one step further and leave a patch of flowering weeds like daisies, buttercups and dandelions - they’re great food sources for butterflies.

long grass

2. Hungry beasts

The way to any garden mammal’s heart is through their stomach.

Badgers and squirrels will eat unsalted nuts and seeds, fruit and root veggies. Hedgehogs are a little pickier, but you can buy special feed from most garden suppliers.

Believe it or not, milk and bread are big no-no's when it comes to feeding wildlife as they cause digestive problems!

3. Wildflower Power

Bees and butterflies alike love wildflowers and they’ve never been easier to introduce to your garden! You can purchase readymade wildflower packs which you can sow straight into soil, and pre-seeded mats that make germination even easier.

Big or small, any patch of your garden will do, and the best time to sow these little gems is in April.

Just remember to water them every now and then should the British weather pull a blinder and bless us all with an actual summer!

4. Just add water

One of the best things you can do for wildlife in your garden is provide them with a water source.

A pond, even a small one, in a not-too-sunny, not-too-shady spot will be the best and quickest way to diversify your garden ecosystem. It’ll make a welcoming home for frogs and other amphibious wildlife (who enjoy shallower water than you think) and beautiful insects like dragonflies. Add plants like water lilies and pondweed to develop your underwater habitat and help prevent it from going stagnant.

And don’t think your tap or hose will have to do overtime. Collect rainwater in containers to top up your pond, or leave them as is! Water sources are essential for all wildlife, especially for birds in the winter.

5. Don't lock them out!

Leave gaps in your fences that are small enough to keep the dog in but big enough for animals like hedgehogs and frogs to discover your lovingly-made wildlife habitat - simple!

6. Make it their home

Another surefire way to draw wildlife into your garden is by introducing nesting boxes and houses, whether that be for birds, bats, hedgehogs or insects. You can either put something together yourself as they don’t need to be complicated, or buy something purpose build.

Store bought or DIY, even the simplest of shelters become safe homes for many animals that struggle to find natural nesting sites in the winter when conditions are harsh (I’m talking about the British weather again aren’t I?).

Hedgehogs especially need a safe place to hibernate through the cold months. Fancy taking on a DIY project? The Wildlife Trusts have a fantastic step-by-step guide of how to build a hedgehog home.

For bird boxes, make sure they’re installed in a high, sheltered area away from common predators such as cats, and provide them with fat balls in the spring and seeds in the winter to keep them safe, fat, and happy.

Insect houses provide nesting sites for solitary bees and insects. You can make your own simple bee house using reed or bamboo of varying lengths between 4-10cm tied together, or you can buy a commercially-made bee pad.

Insect house bee house

7. The Hedge, Birds Nest Lane, Birdville, BB1 1RD

Not in the mood for DIY? Let nature build a home instead!

Hedges offer great sheltered nesting areas for birds and small animals. There are loads of suitable hedge plants to choose from, but winter honeysuckle and hawthorn not only make great hedges, their perfumed blooms are perfect for bees, too.

8. Bee-utiful flowers!

Most people are now privy to the importance and the plight of our bees, so do your bit by planting some of their favourite flowers.

Bees can see blue and purple more clearly than other colours, so blue and purple varieties of rhododendrons, alliums and chives, geraniums and lavender are great places to start! Not only are they all hardy perennial (they’ll bloom every year) plants, they’re relatively easy to grow.

Geraniums also form good-sized clumps of flowers in a short space of time, which is sure to get pollination off to a buzzing start.

Top tip: wild windowsills!

You don’t need a garden to befriend garden wildlife. All the flowers mentioned above can be grown in containers to adorn a small outside space or reside on windowsills.

 

What are your tried and tested garden wildlife hacks? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!

More about the aesthetic? Check out our blog post for smart ways to brighten up your garden.

And if you’re keen to bring the jungle indoors, we've got a blog post for that too! Read all about the benefits of plants in the home here.

 

 


Alternative Storage Uses

“I can use it for what now?!” - Beyond’s 5 Alternative Uses for the Humble Self-Storage Container

While the purpose of a self-storage container might seem pretty self-explanatory, there are so many other ways that you can make use of what is essentially an additional space to call your own. We at Beyond Storage have put together a list of some of the most interesting and creative alternative uses for self-storage containers - but don’t let your imagination stop at number 5!

 

1. Gym

Not everyone is able to establish a home gym. Give your chest, triceps, back and biceps the love they deserve and create your perfect gym in a self-storage container. Whether it’s space or a bit of peace and quiet you’re lacking, the units have both in abundance!

Many come packed with useful features. Our containers are accessible from 6am to 9pm 7 days a week and the site is secured by a fingerprint scanning system. Not only can you use your gym as and when it suits you, but expensive equipment is kept safe and secure.

The only downside is you’ll be without an excuse to skip leg day!

Storage Unit Gym

2. Photography or art studio

Self-storage containers are blank canvases of four walls and endless possibilities, making them ideal for photography and art studios. You’ll have absolute control over the conditions and layout of the space to ensure it’s the perfect conductor of creativity.

You could install backdrops, create the ideal lighting setup, store photography props and artworks, and curate a segregated, flexible space that’s all your own.

Storage Photography Studio


3. Office

Begin to establish the work-life balance we all strive for in an office space that works for you. 

Working from a storage-unit-turned-office has loads of benefits over the at-home alternative. There are no interruptions or distractions, everything you need is kept securely in one place and you’re able to switch-off from work at the end of the day. 

Ours units have WiFi, are insulated and have a dehumidifier as standard, making them as comfortable a space to work from as any. 

Remind yourself of the true meaning of home time!

4. Hobby space

A self-storage container is the perfect vessel to dedicate to the things that bring you joy - whatever they might be.

Store your antiques, curate a display of collectibles or merchandise or install your full gaming setup all in one secure place.

The only limit is the unit size required for your equipment, memorabilia or collectibles - current or aspiring!

5. Cosy meet-up space

If you’re anything like us at Beyond Storage, you’ll appreciate the beauty of a good cuppa and chinwag.

Kit your unit out with all the comforts you’d expect from a cosy living room or your favourite quaint coffee shop for the perfect space to touch base with your nearest and dearest.

 

Whatever you envisage using a self-storage container for, we’d love to hear about it! Visit our website for more information about our units or get in touch with us directly.

Interested in more self-storage shenanigans? Here are 5 of the strangest things ever found in storage units.


Better Together: 10 Home Activities to Entertain the Whole Family

When you’re stuck at home for any reason, be it the weather, school holidays or to save money, keeping the kids busy and entertained can be a challenge - and adults need some stimulation too! So the Beyond Storage team has come up with 10 ideas to entertain children and adults alike, all the while bringing the family closer together.

 

1. Take online classes together

Learning and growing as a family unit can be really rewarding. With so many free online classes and tutorials available to us now for just about anything, there’s no better time to expand on your skills and knowledge - together!

Whether it’s yoga to find your zen and up your fitness, baking to have fun and fill tummies, or art classes to inspire you and get creative, you’ll definitely find something that everyone can enjoy.

 

2. Junk crafts

Junk crafts for home activities

You would be astonished what kids can make out of things that would ordinarily be on their way to the recycling bin. These items can include toilet and kitchen roll tubes, cereal boxes, sweet wrappers, crisp packets, and basically anything you can rinse/give a wipe down ready for crafting!

We especially love the idea of making mosaics, collages and stained glass window designs out of wrappers. Just chop them up into lots of little pieces and shapes and provide the glue sticks and paper. Their imagination will do the rest!

 

3. Run an in-house restaurant

Set up your own restaurant at home and bring dining out in. It’ll be the first time ever that kids enjoy setting the table!

Even if it’s cushions on the floor around the coffee table, you can make a space special. Hang some fairy lights, put some music on and even dress for the occasion. For that extra touch, kids can design the menus or you can work on them together, and don’t forget to include a starter, main and dessert (and if you have a laminator, it’s time to put it to good use!).

Now, I know you’re thinking “wow that’s a lot of cooking!”, but it doesn’t have to be. Pick a rough date in advance so you can freeze leftovers in reheatable portions ready to serve.

Most importantly, keep the food simple: as long as bellies are full and spirits are high, it’s all about the novelty of the occasion!

 

4. Treasure hunt

Treasure hunt home activities

The humble treasure hunt is by no means a new concept, but it’s easy to set up, fun, can cost nothing. If you’re fortunate enough to have private access to an outside space, it's also a great opportunity to get some fresh air.

Do you know what’s possibly more fun than watching kids frantically hunt for treasure? Watching dogs hunt for treats. We really did mean it when we said “the whole family”.

 

5. Create a family tree

This is a great way to feel closer to family that you aren’t able to see very often, or if they’re sadly no longer with us.

Dig out some old photographs and reminisce together, or alternatively you can print them out. Stick them to a family tree that you’ve designed and drawn on a piece of paper, or even devote a whole wall to it if you have the space!

You can even add extra detail such as a phrase they always say, favourite holidays you went on together, where they live and what reminds you of them.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to take a picture and share it with your family, especially those who might be on their own!

 

6. Make a blanket fort

Another classic, but there’s no beating a good ol’ blanket fort! Blanket fort home activities

Once you have a few chairs or other stable objects to drape blankets and duvets over, it’s up to you how elaborately or simply you furnish it. Use blankets, cushions and fairy lights to make it extra cosy.

This little space is great for reading, playing, watching a movie or even having some downtime. If you’ve grown-up and forgotten the wonders of the blanket fort, try it for yourself, we won’t tell!

 

7. Play dress-up

With a new season upon us, it’s as good a time as any to declutter and organise your wardrobe, but think again before casting out your unwanted clothes, shoes and accessories.

Take the dress-up box to the next level and get your craft on to redesign the clothes, come up with fun costumes using them or even put on a fashion show. Dressing up and being silly never goes out of fashion.

 

8. Make a home cinema

Who doesn’t love sitting down with the family to watch a movie? Make this time extra special by turning your living room, or any room, into a home cinema. It'll be just as exciting as the real thing but infinitely cheaper!Home cinema for family activities

Pick a film in advance that no one’s seen and shuffle some furniture around as best as you can so that you’re all snuggled up together in the middle of the room. All that's left to do is grab the popcorn, switch off the lights, and enjoy the cinema experience from the comfort of your own home.

If you want to go all out, there are some relatively affordable mini projectors on the market that might be worth investing in. Even after two uses they pay for themselves with the money you would have spent on otherwise going out to the cinema!

Fancy watching your film alfresco? Check out our guide on how to create your own outdoor cinema!

 

9. Watch live zoo cams

You can now watch all your favourite animals live from zoos across the globe! You’re able to tune into a variety of different animal enclosures and see what they’re up to right this second.

Make a day of it and include other activities, such as dressing up as your favourite animals, finding interesting facts or drawing which animals would be in your perfect zoo.

Our current favourites are the San Diego and Edinburgh Zoo and Cincinnati Zoo has a great page of activities for when the kids are at home.

 

10. Stargazing

Clue up on all the constellation and asterism greats such as Orion’s Belt and the Big Dipper, wait for a clear night and set your gaze upon the sky.

To make the most out of your stargazing night, check beforehand which constellations and star clusters will be visible in your location and if there might be astronomical events taking place. You can find lots of tips and visual indicators online to help you spot the starry figures.

If you have an outdoor space where you can lay down blankets and cushions, even better, but clear nights can be chilly, so wrap up in something comfortable and warm. Bring along snacks and a round of hot chocolate for a Spring night to remember!

 

Whatever you decide to get up to, the most important thing is that you’re able to spend quality time with your family in the safety and comfort of your home. Let us know if this inspired you to try one of the activities, we’d love to see your family’s take on it!

Looking for grown-ups-only activities? Check out our blog posts for handy living room storage hacks, 3 brilliant ideas to create the perfect outdoor space and some kitchen storage tips for the perfect cooking environment!