Surround Yourself With a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

See how you can help butterflies and bees thrive.

The bees and butterflies we rely upon to pollinate the plants that feed us are in decline around the world. It's a grave problem but one that can be helped even with small efforts by all of us.

Pollinator-Friendly Terrace Has San Francisco Landmark Views

Pollinator-Friendly Terrace Has San Francisco Landmark Views

The Cloud Terrace at the 2016 San Francisco Decorator Showcase offers a nearly 180-degree view of San Francisco's top sights, including San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Landscape architect Chih-Wei G.V. Chang added purple walls lined by pollinator friendly flowers to invite hummingbirds and bees to share in the otherwise private view.

Photo by: Jason Kisner; Design by Chih-Wei G.V. Chang

Jason Kisner; Design by Chih-Wei G.V. Chang

Take the stunning Cloud Terrace at last year's San Francisco Decorator Showcase. Landscape architect Chih-Wei G.V. Chang of SWA in Sausalito, Calif., packed this small outdoor getaway full of flora native to central California to provide nutrients to pollinator species.

As pollinators visit plants searching for nectar, they distribute pollen from plant to plant, kickstarting those plants' reproduction processes that ultimately lead to the plant-based foods that feed the Earth's entire ecosystem.

Pollinator-Friendly Wildflowers on Purple Rooftop Terrace

Pollinator-Friendly Wildflowers on Purple Rooftop Terrace

The 2016 San Francisco Decorator Showcase features a rooftop terrace lined by purple walls with pollinator-friendly flowers from landscape architect Chih-Wei G.V. Chang.

Photo by: Jason Kisner

Jason Kisner

Pollinators are in trouble for a number of reasons; loss of habitats, increase in pesticide use and spread of invasive species are among the biggest contributing factors.

Any backyard or apartment balcony can host a pollinator-friendly garden. The important elements for a pollinator garden, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is to select plants native to your home's region, include a variety of colors to catch the eyes of a variety of pollinators, select varieties that bloom at different times of the year and to clump plants together to create a stronger draw.

Purple Flower-Filled Terrace With City Views of San Francisco

Purple Flower-Filled Terrace With City Views of San Francisco

This lovely purple terrace at the 2016 San Francisco Decorator Showcase has an abundance of flowers as well as a collection of white contemporary outdoor furniture. It offers a great view of San Francisco's top sights. Landscape architect Chih-Wei G.V. Chang added purple walls lined by pollinator friendly flowers to invite hummingbirds and bees to share in the otherwise private view.

Photo by: Jason Kisner

Jason Kisner

Local native plants not only provide the most ideal habitat for pollinators in your area, they also tend to be the best-suited to growing in your local climate. The National Wildlife Foundation's Plant Finder and your local gardening center can help you identify what flowering plants are ideal for your home garden.

See 14 Pollinator Friendly Plants

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For the San Francisco garden, Chang included bluebells, catmint, sage, California lilac, delphinium and lavender and painted the terrace walls purple to work with his beautiful blooms to attract a variety of bees, butterflies and birds. 

This purple rooftop terrace at the 2016 San Francisco Decorator Showcase features purple walls lined by pollinator-friendly flowers from landscape architect Chih-Wei G.V. Chang.

Photo by: Jason Kisner

Jason Kisner

The Cloud Terrace isn't just for the birds and the bees, though. Chang included a few creature comforts for the humans, too, such as the bubble chairs from which to enjoy the panoramic views of San Francisco Bay, a french horn sculpture that works as a music amplifier and LED lights to take the terrace into the evening hours.

So as you're planning your summer garden, don't forget the little guys and gals who will help your garden and the greater ecosystem thrive.

Learn How to Make a Pollinator House

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