Why It's Worth Rewilding on a Domestic Scale

It doesn't take much to add some wildness to your garden at home.

older man works among wildflowers in backyard

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Rewilding will be crucial for tackling the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Most often, we talk about rewilding on a grand scale—on farms and large tracts of land, and in wider bioregions. But rewilding in gardens can be just as important.

There are many reasons why we should rewild on a domestic scale. It's useful to think small, in addition to taking the broader view, since even small steps taken at home can help improve our environments. Thinking more "wildly" can help us find solutions for the major challenges we face.

Carbon Drawdown and Climate Change Mitigation

By replacing formal lawns, annual flower beds, and hard paving with trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennials, we maximize photosynthesis and sequester more carbon in our gardens.

We should think about our gardens not plant by plant, but as living ecosystems where every element works holistically for the benefit of the whole, as in natural systems. By mimicking and working with nature, we can create thriving, abundant spaces which work for nature and deliver for us.

Thinking about carbon sequestration is crucial in any eco-friendly garden. In our own spaces, no matter how small, we can help tackle our climate crisis. In reciprocity for the gifts nature gives us, we have a responsibility to nurture vibrant natural systems in our gardens.

Water and Soil Systems

Rewilding is all about letting nature take the reigns. It is about working alongside nature to create systems which work for us and for the planet. 

Through careful garden design and minimal management, we can not only mitigate manmade climate change. We can also make more resilient systems, which can themselves adapt to the changes that will come. In turn, these will allow us to adapt more easily to our changing climate and the problems it will bring.

Wild spaces can be far more resilient in terms of water, aiding in adaptation to issues of drought or flooding. Soils in rewilded systems are healthier, too, with closed loop systems in which surplus is returned to the system.

Choosing plenty of native plants helps save water, maintain and improve the soil, and keep nature's systems turning, both for the benefit of the whole and for us. An appropriate rewilding scheme can safeguard water supplies, protect against wildfires and other environmental disasters, halt ecosystem degradation, and make sure natural systems are in place that can themselves thrive, and which can help us to thrive, in the years to come.

Halting Species Decline 

Life on Earth depends upon a rich biodiversity of plant and animal species, and loss of that is a major issue. Human-induced climate change, pollution, and ecosystem degradation are leading to the loss of species at an unprecedented rate.

Rewilding in gardens is one way that we can begin to redress the balance. Loss of species is, of course, a tragedy in its own right; but we also need to understand that it poses a threat to us. Taking care of native wildlife in our gardens is one way for us to safeguard not only those species, but also our own futures.

Species loss threatens food production, makes pests harder to control, and leads to a paucity in our environments. Letting wild and natural systems thrive in our gardens is important for our own resilience, and crucial for long-term sustainability.

Human Health and Wellbeing

In the modern world, there is a tragic disconnect between people and nature. Many studies have shown that human health and wellbeing suffers as a result. Bringing truly natural and "wild" systems into our gardens and our lives means re-taking our place not as something separate from the natural world around us, but as part of the whole. 

A wild garden ecosystem helps us recognize the wonders of the natural world. It helps us to feel at peace, grounded, healthy, and happy. When we see such rewilded systems up close, filled with native plant and animal species, we can derive many benefits for our physical and mental wellbeing.

Rewilding our gardens is not hugely complex. Small steps that we take to enrich our spaces can be rewarded in numerous ways. Something like replacing a mono-species lawn with more biodiverse and resilient planting schemes can make a huge difference. Even allowing a "weedy" corner to emerge could be beneficial. Remember, rewilding can be as much about what you don't do as what you do. Letting nature take over a little can yield some huge rewards.

The above are just some of the main reasons why rewilding in gardens is something we should all be doing.