Gardens can be more than just a beautiful, tranquil and relaxing escape from your hectic lifestyle, but they are also incredibly important features in our overall green space and environmental impact. In fact, many garden owners are taking their gardens one step further towards eco-friendly by making use of tried and true techniques that invite all sorts of wildlife to make a home in their own backyard.
There are other ways that inviting wildlife into your garden encourages a natural balance that sustainably benefits your whole backyard. Certain insects keep pests under control, while birds and amphibians will lower the snail and slug population.
Pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies flourish in a properly tended garden setting, and in turn these insects are essential to crop production of fruits and fruiting vegetables, which provides us all with delicious foods to eat. All of this means you can do away with harmful and toxic chemicals and enjoy a natural retreat.
Of course, wildlife won’t come to an empty or dry garden, so we have provided several tips and tricks to getting wildlife to claim your garden as their own too.
What to Grow
Flowers that are big and blowsy may provide little or no nectar or pollen for our friendly pollinating insects, so be sure to plant the best varieties for your flighty friends. Also, consider what plants will provide pollen and nectar for the longest season possible in your local area, especially those that last from spring to autumn.
Next, mix it up when you are choosing between what shrubs, trees, and climbers to plant outdoors, since creating variety in these structures will provide plenty of food and shelter for an incredibly diverse group of wildlife. Some larger plants can provide food (flowers), shelter, nesting sites, and seeds for animals, while certain shrubs like a rowan or blackthorn may provide delicious berries for wandering birds and animals.
If you don’t have the space for larger plants, take a moment to realize that animals don’t recognize invisible boundary lines, and your garden is in fact functioning as a part of all of nature as a whole. With this in mind, find some nearby large and older trees and take an active part in looking after their health, which increases the chance that wildlife will be nearby to enter your garden as well.
What to Add
There are plenty of features you can scatter throughout your garden to entice wildlife and offer them food and shelter, outside of grass and shrubbery.
Install a Pond
Water is a basic necessity, and the best way to bring in more animals and creatures is to plant a small pond in the backyard, ensuring one side is gently sloping to animals can safely enter and exit the water if necessary. However, if a pond isn’t possible, you can even use a pot or even an upside-down trash bin to supply some standing water for use by the animals.
Dead Wood Pile
Find a shady spot out of the direct sunlight and leave some dead or decaying wood, a feature that is almost impossible to find in much of the outer world and yet necessary for species such as stag beetles and fungi.
The free fertilizer not only reduces your own waste and trash, but is also takes advantage of native decomposer organisms, called saprophytes, to add nutrition to your garden soil, which benefits every living part of your backyard and beyond.
Feed the Birds
Birds are migratory, but there are so many species that there is likely to be some birds flying around your garden at any time of year. And so, the best choice is to install bird feeders and a bird bath so the birds can stop by for a snack whatever the season.
Build a Rock Garden
While this one may be a bit of a surprise, these sloping hard surfaces provide home and shelter to a whole different type of plants and animals who don’t need rich soils to survive. This will be low maintenance, rarely needs watering, and brings in mason bees, another important pollinator.
Let Your Garden Grow
When you join your garden with the wildly intricate and intelligent weavings of nature, you can create a beautiful and sustainable backyard sanctuary that requires little maintenance yet offers amazing rewards.