Garden gadgets

With icy temperatures having sent most of us scuttling indoors this winter, spare a thought for our animal friends who have had to put up with one of the coldest British winters for decades.

And from bugs to birds, wildlife doesn't just have to take shelter from the elements, but from nasty predators too. Help out your garden's tenants with a cosy and attractive garden habitat.

Fly away home

Everyone has a soft spot for the humble ladybird and we think this timber ladybird tower is rather cute. With little holes drilled at an upward angle so that only small insects can access the inner chamber filled with natural material, it's the perfect sanctuary from those pesky predators. And if you're feeling nosy, the roof panel can be removed so that you can take a peek inside.

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To the bat box!

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Their flapping wings and wildly misunderstood characteristics give bats a bad name. But even if some people get the heebie jeebies thinking about them, they are a protected species and deserve a warm welcome in any back garden. This cosy bat box has two internal chambers and features a ladder and a "front door" providing access for inspection and cleaning. Hang it 2.5-5 metres up a tree and remember that bats will change their roosting direction depending on the season. As such, many enthusiasts will fit three bat boxes to a tree; facing north, south and south east.

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Amphibian accommodation

Frogs and toads are a great asset to your garden: they have a liking for slugs and snails, and will take them on with gusto. So the least you can do is offer them a half-decent shelter. This ceramic frog and toad house is frost-resistant and, rather cleverly, has wet and dry floor areas to enable our warty friends to keep nicely cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

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• This article was first published in Scotland on Sunday, January 31, 2010