In the pursuit of promoting biodiversity and supporting our local ecosystems, creating a stumpery offers a unique and visually intriguing way to provide shelter and resources for a variety of insects and other wildlife. Unlike a traditional garden, a stumpery focuses on the artistic arrangement of dead wood, tree stumps, and organic debris to mimic natural forest conditions where insects thrive. This guide will walk you through the steps to create your own insect haven, contributing to conservation efforts and bringing the beauty of untamed nature to your garden.

Understanding the Value of a Stumpery

Before we dig into the how-tos, it’s important to appreciate the value a stumpery brings to both your garden and local wildlife. Stumperies create microhabitats for insects such as beetles, woodlice, and centipedes, as well as providing nesting sites for bees and shelters for amphibians. By decomposing, the wood and organic matter enrich the soil with nutrients, fostering a healthy ecosystem right in your garden.

Step 1: Planning Your Stumpery


Choose a shaded or partially shaded area in your garden, ideally under trees or shrubs, to mimic the natural environment of a forest floor. The size of your stumpery will depend on available space, but even a small corner can be effective.


  • Tree Stumps and Logs: Source these from local tree surgeons, who are usually happy to give away cut-offs. Ensure the wood is untreated to avoid chemicals harmful to wildlife.
  • Organic Debris: Collect leaves, bark, moss, and smaller branches to add between the larger logs and stumps.
  • Stones and Rocks: These can provide additional structure and hiding spots.

Step 2: Constructing Your Stumpery

Laying the Foundation

Start by arranging the largest stumps and logs on the ground. These will form the backbone of your stumpery. If possible, bury part of them to provide stability and create a sense of age and permanence.

Building Up Layers

Add smaller logs, branches, and organic debris between the larger pieces. Aim for a natural, random arrangement that mimics a forest floor. The nooks and crannies between the wood will be where most of the insect activity takes place.

Adding Soil and Plants

In some spaces, especially around the edges, add soil and plant ferns, hostas, or other shade-loving plants to create a lush, green appearance. These plants will add to the stumpery's aesthetics and provide additional habitat for wildlife.

Step 3: Attracting Insects

Water Feature

Consider adding a small water feature or dish to provide a drinking source for insects and birds. Ensure it’s shallow and add stones for insects to land on.

Leave It Be

Resist the urge to tidy up. The beauty of a stumpery comes from its natural, wild state. Over time, the wood will start to decay, attracting more insects.

Maintenance and Considerations

  • Inspection: Regularly check for any signs of unwanted pests and manage them accordingly.
  • Moisture: Keep the area moist but not waterlogged. This may involve watering during dry spells.
  • Decay: Over time, the wood will decompose. This is a natural process and beneficial for the ecosystem. You can add new pieces as needed.


Building a stumpery is a rewarding project that not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your garden but also plays a crucial role in supporting local biodiversity. By providing a sanctuary for insects, you are contributing to the health of your local ecosystem. A stumpery requires minimal maintenance, and as it matures, it becomes more attractive to a wide range of wildlife, offering you a fascinating glimpse into the natural world right at your doorstep.