Creating a Wildlife Sanctuary
Cultivating a haven to attract feathered and not-so-feathered friends in your yard can be simple and fun.
Trying to attract a bevy of birds, butterflies and other scampering critters to your garden? You may already be attracting wildlife without knowing it.
"The great thing about creating backyard wildlife habitats is that you can do it anywhere with any size yard and with any budget," says naturalist David Mizejewski. "All wildlife species need four things to survive - food, water, cover or shelter, and places where wildlife can raise their young."
Adding these elements to your yard can be done in very simple ways:
- Consider using native plants in your garden. Native plants are adapted to the growing conditions in your area and typically require less water, fertilizer and maintenance than other plants. They are often good sources of natural goodies, like berries and nectar, for wildlife and have already been providing food to native wildlife for years. Be sure to select a variety of plants that bloom at different times of the year and have year-round seasonal interest in your area. If space is limited in your yard, select one plant that can be used by wildlife for a variety of purposes throughout the year.
- Evergreen trees and shrubs provide shelter for wildlife year-round. Evergreens are useful for humans too; they serve as windbreaks in the landscape and can help to keep homes shaded and cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
- Water is an essential element to any wildlife habitat. Animals need clean water sources to bathe and have drinking water. "The water feature that you have does not have to be big. It can be as simple as a small birdbath, a shallow dish on the ground that you change every couple of days so that you don't have mosquitoes. Or it can be something more elaborate. You might be lucky to have a big area with a natural pond or a simple pond off the patio," Mizejewski says. Be sure to add vegetation to aid critters in getting into and out of the pond easily.
Not all elements, like shelter and food sources, included in a wildlife sanctuary need to be created naturally. Manmade items, such as birdhouses and bird feeders, can be added to the landscape.
For the Birds: How to Attract Wildlife in Winter
With the right mix of trees and shrubs, your backyard can become a winter haven for birds.
Butterfly Gardening Basics
Offer a sheltered, sunny spot and a diversity of flowering plants, and you'll have these beautiful creatures and their children too.
Nectar Sources for Butterflies
Check out these plant options for drawing in and nourishing butterflies in your garden.
Design a Yard That Will Invite Birds
Follow these tips to attract birds to your garden.
Urban Gardens: Terrific Tight Spaces
You don't need a half-acre to design an outstanding garden; actually, you don't even need more than a balcony. Here, we help you realize the gardening potential of your urban space.
Garden Design Case Study: Small Space Gardening
A small garden was given a huge makeover. Check out this small-space garden created by designer Chris Parsons.
Larval Host Plants
Butterfly host plants serve as a great place for young caterpillars to hatch and feed.
Wide Open Spaces: Country Gardens Fit to Inspire
If you have a lot of outdoor space to work with, a country garden might be for you. Romantic and serene, installing a country garden can play up the spaciousness of a lawn or fill it in with wild-looking plantings.
An Herb Garden for Birds and Bees
Herbs are naturally aromatic and many are highly favored by honeybees and other insects. Learn how you can have your own garden perfect for birds and bees.
Attracting Butterflies to the Garden
Welcome these colorful winged creatures to your garden. Find out which flowers they prefer and how to make a butterfly bath.
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