Hedgehogs are some of Britain’s most endearing garden visitors. Creating a safe and cosy hedgehog house can provide these delightful creatures with a much-needed refuge during the day and a secure place to hibernate in winter. Not only is building a hedgehog house a fun weekend project, it’s also an excellent way to encourage natural pest control in your garden. Here’s your comprehensive guide to making a hedgehog-friendly abode.

What You Will Need:

  • A large wooden box or a piece of untreated wood to build one (approx. 45cm x 30cm x 30cm)
  • Water-based, non-toxic paint for exterior decoration (optional)
  • A waterproof roofing material (old roof tiles, heavy-duty plastic sheeting, or felt roofing)
  • Straw or dry leaves for bedding
  • Saw (if cutting wood)
  • Screws and screwdriver
  • Drill with a hole saw attachment or a jigsaw
  • Hinge (to attach the roof if making it opening for cleaning)
  • Bricks or paving slabs for the base (optional)

Step 1: Choose Your Location

Before you start building, it's important to find the perfect spot in your garden for your hedgehog house. Look for a quiet corner that’s away from prevailing winds. A spot with some cover, such as bushes or shrubs, is ideal. This ensures the house remains hidden from predators and offers easy access for your spiky friends.

Step 2: Preparing the House

If you’re using a pre-made wooden box, skip to Step 3. Otherwise, cut your untreated wood to size and assemble it into a basic box shape using screws. Ensure the box has enough space (around 45cm x 30cm x 30cm) for hedgehogs to move around comfortably. Cut an entrance hole on one side of the box, approximately 13cm x 13cm, to allow easy access for the hedgehogs but keep out larger animals.

Step 3: Add an Entrance Tunnel

Hedgehogs benefit from a winding entrance to help deter predators. Use scraps of wood to construct a simple, sloping tunnel leading to the entrance hole you’ve cut. This doesn’t need to be complex—a straight or slightly curved tunnel about 30cm in length will suffice.

Step 4: Weatherproofing

It’s crucial that the hedgehog house is waterproof to keep its occupants dry. Cover the roof with waterproof roofing material, ensuring it extends over the edges to prevent rain from seeping in. If you’ve decided to add a hinge to the roof for easy cleaning, make sure it’s also weatherproof and securely attached.

Step 5: Camouflage and Secure

To further protect the hedgehog house from the elements and hide it from predators, consider painting the exterior with water-based, non-toxic paint. Then, disguise the house under a mound of earth, leaves, or logs. For added stability, you can place bricks or paving stones around the base.

Step 6: Adding Bedding

Inside the house, lay down a generous layer of straw or dry leaves to provide a comfortable bed for your hedgehog guests. Avoid using hay as it can become mouldy when wet.

Step 7: Ongoing Care

Despite being self-sufficient creatures, hedgehogs visiting your garden will benefit from a shallow dish of fresh water placed near their home, especially in dry weather. Refrain from feeding them milk and bread, which can cause digestive issues; instead, opt for meat-based cat or dog food or specialist hedgehog food.


By following these steps, you’re not just providing a vital haven for hedgehogs; you’re also contributing to the conservation of one of Britain’s most loved mammals. With patience and a little luck, your garden might soon become a favoured spot for these charming creatures, and you’ll have the joy of knowing you’ve played a part in supporting local wildlife.