The popular garden trend the Queen is championing in Buckingham Palace Garden

Rewilding is a buzzword that has taken off in domestic gardens, and the Buckingham Palace Garden shows why this is a trend that's here to stay

Buckingham Palace gardens lake
(Image credit: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021. Photographer John Campbell)

It might be the last thing you'd expect from the manicured lawns of Buckingham Palace. However, the Queen has been ahead of the curve for years when it comes to the rewilding trend. 

If you have been looking into rewilding your garden the palace gardens are the perfect place to look for inspiration. Rewilding is all about allowing green areas to return to nature and encourage wildlife to flourish.

While it has become a recent buzzword for large green spaces and domestic gardens, the Buckingham Palace garden manager Mark Lane has been encouraging the principle for years. A significant part of this is the long grass policy that has been put in place in the garden. 

Lake at Buckingham Palace Gardens

The lake at Buckingham Palace Gardens 

(Image credit: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021. Photographer: John Campbell)

The policy means the gardeners take a break from the perfect lawn stripes to ensures 10 per cent of the 39-acre garden is left to its own devices. On the website Mark Lane explains that the grass around the lake is also allowed to grow: 'An 800 metre stretch of ground around the edge of the lake is cut on a rotational basis every four years, again, allowing flora and fauna to prosper.'

This discovery on our recent tour of the Garden at Buckingham Palace ahead of the opening this weekend turned all our perceptions of the royal lawns on their head. It also gave us a few wildlife garden ideas to implement in our own gardens at home.

If you've been toying with other ways to encourage wildlife into your garden, such as how to build a butterfly garden, the palace policy proves that just a small change, such as not mowing a small part of the garden, can have incredible results. There are 325 wild plant species, including creeping buttercup and herb robert, and 30 species of breeding birds, now thriving in the garden due to the policy.

waterfall in Buckingham Palace Gardens

The waterfall in Buckingham Palace Gardens

(Image credit: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021. Photographer: John Campbell)

Some areas, such as the island in the centre of the garden, have been left untouched for decades as author Claire Masset revealed in her book Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden, available on Amazon.

'Even during Queen Victoria’s time the island was looked after differently from the rest of the garden...the island is now a rich and finely balanced ecosystem: an oasis within an oasis,' she writes.

These pockets of land where nature has been allowed to take back control have allowed the garden to become a habitat for birds, bugs and all other types of wildlife. Native birds rarely seen in London, including the common sandpiper, sedge warbler and lesser whitethroat now nest along the banks of the lake.

Long grass around Buckingham Palace Garden lake

Long grass around the edge of Buckingham Palace Garden lake

(Image credit: Future / Rebecca Knight)

The Garden at Buckingham Palace is currently open to the public for the first time this month. Guests will be allowed to take a tour of the private parts of the garden, and picnic on the famous lawns that usually host the Queen's garden party. 

Tickets are available to purchase on the website for dates from July through to 19th September, priced at £16.50 for adults, £9 for children and under-5s go free.

Rebecca Knight
Rebecca Knight

As the News Editor on Gardeningetc, Rebecca covers everything from the common mistake your making when pruning your roses, to handy tips about how to keep your houseplants alive. She has been covering all things gardening for two years across Homes & Gardens and Ideal Home. There isn't a single gardening trend that passes without her knowing about it. 


She's currently the proud owner of a thriving container garden on her small city balcony and a jungle of houseplants. Small gardens and container plants are her specialties.