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Wildlife Gardening – How To Attract Wildlife To Your Garden

I love sitting on my back porch, observing wildlife: it’s peaceful and very enjoyable both at the beginning of a day or after a hard day at work. If you’re like me, learning how to attract wildlife to your garden is important.

butterfly on orange flower

How To Attract Wildlife To Your Garden

Imagine this: a doe and her fawn sipping from your pond, an energetic squirrel gathering acorns, or some frogs, butterflies, birds, and other animals going about their daily business, making our lives better! Are you ready to learn a bit more about how to attract wildlife to your garden?

While it’s true that we rarely do wildlife a service by feeding them from our cupboards, by using the following wildlife attraction and sustainability tips, you can feel good knowing that you are giving back to wildlife some of its lost ecosystems, especially if you live in an urban or residential developed area.

You will also be creating an environmentally friendly landscape because what is good for the animals is also good for the environment.

In the words of Aldo Leopold, the “father of conservation: There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.” If you are of the latter inclination, the following tips from the National Wildlife Federation are for you.

Feeding Wildlife

Provide native plants that are a natural part of animals’ diets. Going native with your landscape also benefits the environment because native plants are adapted to their locations and thus require little maintenance. For a list of native plants in your region that attract wildlife, go to and enter your zip code.

Water For Wildlife

backyard garden pond

Much water can be saved by replacing a lawn with native plants. You can put this water to better use by providing fresh water to wildlife. Birdbaths, butterfly puddles, ponds, and rain gardens will be much appreciated, especially with the planet’s climate changes affecting their supply. Water can also be collected in rain barrels.

Shelter For Wildlife

wildflowers meadow in front of a barn

Another way to be a good host to wildlife is to provide places for the animals to hide from people, predators, and inclement weather, as well as shelter for raising their babies. Here are some examples:

  • Native shrubs and thickets
  • Dead trees (good homes as well as food sources)
  • Logs and rocks for good hideouts
  • Birdhouses
  • Bat roosting boxes
  • Ponds for aquatic wildlife, including fish and amphibians
  • Wildflower meadows

wildflowers and hay

Some wildflowers and hay are the perfect place for lots of wildlife, and so pretty to look at!

wooden birdhouses

If you love birds, adding a few birdhouses around your yard is a great ways to facilitate nesting 😉

How To Maintain Your Yard For Wildlife

By going green, you create healthier soil, water, and air for the wildlife as well as for you and your human loved ones. Just these two practices alone will work wonders:

  1. Mulching (use mulches that are from sustainable forestry practices and free from pests): Reduces the need for watering, provides nutrients to the soil and reduces the need for fertilizer.
  2. Reducing lawn size: Besides the fact that most lawns are maintained with chemicals and greenhouse gas-producing, powered lawnmowers, a lawn provides little value to wildlife. By replacing a grass lawn with pretty wildflowers and bushes, or even edible landscape, you not only minimize the yard work but also offer shelter to wildlife and add color to your backyard.

Plants For Bees

bee on yellow flower

Lately, bees are becoming endangered. Anything we can do to attract bees and facilitate them to thrive is good for the environment. There are many plants that attract bees and are easy to grow and pretty to look at. Here are just a few of the flowers that are great for attracting bees:

Plants For Butterflies

monarch butterfly on purple flower

Butterflies are very easy to attract with the right flowers. By planting nectar-rich flowers in your garden you can attract lots of beautiful butterflies. Here are just a few of the flowers you might want to plant:

As you can see, butterflies love herbs you can also use in your cooking, so you get double benefits to growing these!

Plants For Birds

white breasted nuthatch

Birds are not only pretty to look at: they also benefit your garden by eating slugs, aphids, caterpillars, and other bugs that could damage your garden. Attract birds into your garden and yard by offering them a birdbath, a few seeds (especially during the winter months), and don’t forget to plant some berry-producing plants for them.

Here are some great plants that will attract birds:

Common Backyard Animals

So, what could you expect to see if you are gardening for wildlife? There are many animals you might see in your backyard that won’t exactly make you happy, like rodents, raccoons, possums, squirrels, deer, etc

But then again, if your backyard backs up to a forest, you might need to learn to enjoy seeing them. And they ARE gorgeous, once you get past the damage they might do to your backyard.

Here’s a video of a couple of surprising guests in someone’s backyard.

How to attract wildlife to your garden

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