This year the Woodland Trust and the Sheffield Wildlife Trust are encouraging households to create bug hotels or wildlife sanctuaries in our gardens. Sometimes modern gardens do not encourage wildlife particularly with the invention of items like artificial grass! So it is nice to create an area where wildlife can thrive. They like to able to find warm, shady, and cozy spots to shelter them from the elements.

In our experience, the perfect bug hotel is a log pile or woodpile. Log piles are great natural places for insects to shelter from the elements, we often find frogs, birds, and hibernating hedgehogs hiding in them as well. Log stores also look a bit nicer than the advertised ready to buy bug hotels.

So if you have a log store already that you are thinking about filling for the winter you could add an extra bit on the side as an undisturbed wildlife habitat. Or if you don't have the space to add on the to log store, it is likely that is already a great wildlife home, just be careful when lifting out the logs at the back in case of disturbing a hibernating hedgehog.

If you are intending on building a bug hotel think about doing a neat log pile. It is really easy and looks more natural than a bug hotel. 

What materials do you need to make a bug hotel log pile?

You will need logs! It is important to choose them from a sustainable source. Purchasing timber from large online merchants defeats the point of building an eco habitat as most large wood merchants source wood from forestation projects. Although they have eco-standards, it is good to remember that they are still harvesting that forest for the sole purpose of selling the wood. Also native wood is better as it makes a more familiar habitat for UK wildlife so that is another reason not to pop to B&Q.

To source logs, choose a local tree surgeon who has logs for sale as they will have wood from your area that is familiar to the wildlife and also if they are anything like Silver Oak it will be a sustainably sourced from trees that have had to be removed for various reasonable reasons. Tree surgeons are generally happy to sell small bags of logs or event just 10 logs for example if that was all you need. We have often sourced logs in particular shapes and colours for customers who are wanting to build something decorative for the garden.

Hardwoods such as ash, oak, and beech are particularly great for rehoming wildlife. Try to pick some larger logs that have the bark on the outside as well as wildlife tend to love bark. You can also intersperse or have an area for smaller logs and branches. Of course, you can get quite creative if you want!

Where is the best place to put a bug hotel log pile?

In a sunny south facing position or in light shade - this will ensure your logs dry and the insects like the warmth. Win-win.

Choose a structure:

There are a few ways of building log piles depending on what you want from them. If it was a log pile purely for drying out logs then aeration is key, however, if the aim is to encourage wildlife then you want aeration but also some nice hidey holes for them to reside. Building the store is quite easy and once you have decided on the structure you just need to make sure that you stack them securely.

A neat pile: This could be a stacked square or a triangle shape of logs. Both of these work really well. Pile the logs neatly on top of each other to form a pyramid or square.  If you decide on the triangle shape, stack large ones at the bottom leading to smaller at the top

A bit higgledy-piggledy: Stack them any old how but make sure they won't roll. This is the natural way to do it but it doesn’t create much shade and looks messy.

Norwegian style: Norwegian log piles tend to be round and super neat, google it and take a look! If you are someone who loves Scandinavian style or is a neat freak then this is probably just for you.

We hope you enjoy building a store.

If you need any logs and are based in the Sheffield area then we should be able to help you out. Follow the links below.

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