Flip Your Yard Into A Wildlife Habitat: 10 Simple Methods To Make A Wildlife Sanctuary

Are you ready to turn your yard into a wildlife habitat? If so, you aren’t alone. As the planet struggles with climate change, many folks are stepping up to invite nature in.

I first felt the urge to make my yard a welcoming spot for nature’s wild friends on 9/11/2011. I was making plans to build a formal garden with a stone wall around it in my home in France, and I completely tossed them out the window. Instead, I put in a frog pond, a pollinator garden, and a berry-plant hedge, leaving large swaths of terrain wild. And I have been rewarded ever since with wildlife in my area all season long.

If you would like to make a wildlife garden in your backyard, here’s my biggest tip: proceed one step at a time. You’ll find 10 different ideas in this article, but there is no rule you have to dive into them all. Try one this summer – you are sure to see heart-warming results.

Best Ways To Turn Your Yard Into A Wildlife Habitat

Are you ready to turn part or all of your property into a wildlife sanctuary, where birds and butterflies take turns at the wildflower nectar? It’s a worthy goal and entirely feasible if you take it one step at a time. Pick any one of these great gardening ideas and you will benefit nature in your own neighborhood.

1. Start Your Own Pollinator Garden

Pollinators are essential to the reproduction of most of the flowering plants in the entire world – including a third of the food crops. With the number of birds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators reduced by habitat loss and the use of chemicals, we can all lend them a hand by starting a pollinator garden and planting the native flora they need to thrive.

2. Grow Native Fruit Trees for Wildlife

Putting out a seed feeder is one way to feed wild birds that live near you or pass through during migration. But it’s not the best way. Planting fruit trees is a better one, especially when they are native. Native fruit trees not only provide fruit for birds and small mammals during fruit season, but they also offer nectar when they blossom in spring.

3. Create a Bird-Friendly Hedge

The needs of wild birds are not really all that different from our own. They need food, safety, and a place to raise their young. If you forgo a brick wall for a living wall, you meet all three of a bird’s requirements to survive. A living wall is a bird-friendly hedge that includes small flowering or fruiting trees, evergreens, and native vines and brambles. The thorns keep out cats and other predators, while the evergreen branches provide habitat all year long.

4. Attract Hedgehogs To Your Garden

Do you want allies in the garden that help control insects? Hedgehogs may be your ticket. Largely nocturnal, hedgehogs like peace and quiet, as well as plentiful food sources and drinking water. Your best bet for attracting hedgehogs to the garden is setting up shelter for them in the form of wild areas with high grass where you stack fallen tree limbs and pile up autumn leaves. Or you can actually make a simple hedgehog nest.

5. Grow Container Plants For Wildlife

Lining your patio with potted plants will make for a prettier back yard, and, if you select the right species, it can make your yard friendlier for wildlife as well. While birds and reptiles and mammals may not swoon at the sight of a lovely flower, bees enjoy the nectar, birds eat up the seeds, and lizards and frogs can eat bugs and dig in the moist soil. When you are setting up your potted wildlife garden, consider your audience and pick natives your wildlife will love.

6. Create Your Own Prairie Lawn

The square of green turf grass used to be part of the American dream, but no more. Turf is expensive to maintain, extremely thirsty, and creates a sterile environment that does not have food or habitat for wildlife. What’s a homeowner to do? Turn your lawn into a prairie meadow, an ecosystem dominated by wild, native grasses. It supports the natural environment and all the wildlife living there – and requires a lot less maintenance.

7. Grow the Right Plants for Frogs

Don’t like slugs? Snails? Frogs eat them! Hate mosquitoes, flies, beetles? Frogs eat them too. So why not attract frogs to your garden? Create a frog habitat by installing plants that attract the bugs that frogs like to eat and provide frogs shelter and areas to rest and nest.

8. Make a Wildlife-Friendly Veggie Plot

Are you one of the “old school” who always grows more garden vegetables than your family can eat in order to share with neighbors? With just a little thought, you can also share with local wildlife. This wildlife-friendly veggie plot will succeed with the right boundaries in place and the right plants.

9. Make Room For A Newt Habitat

Newts are a type of salamanders that are your friends in the garden. They live both in water and on land. A newt habitat has a fresh-water pond and is surrounded by land with newt cover, like dried leaves and fallen wood. Why should we attract newts to the garden? They are part of the ecosystem, devouring mosquitoes and other aquatic insects.

10. Create a Weed Garden for Wildlife

It’s easy to divide the plants in your backyard into absolute categories: flowers and veggies are good, weeds are bad. But remember, a weed is simply a plant you don’t want. Weeds are thought to be hardy, drought resistant, undemanding and fast growing – what could be easier than weeds to grow! There are many wild weedish plants that are great food sources for animals, birds and butterflies. Plant these as a “weed garden” or “wildlife garden” to encourage the butterflies, birds and other wildlife that love them.

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