A garden that is friendly to local wildlife not only helps the ecosystem but also benefits you. You can enjoy watching birds, small mammals, and even predators when you provide the kind of natural space these animals need.
Why Should You Be Gardening with Wildlife in Mind?
Good question, and here’s why you should want wildlife in gardens. Simple appreciation of wildlife is one reason to create a garden friendly to native creatures, but there are others too.
Supporting your native ecosystem is good for the environment. Practical reasons include natural pest control and saving on water with native species.
Of course, there are downsides to wildlife in gardens. Rabbits and deer may nibble on many of your plants and you may consider some wildlife pests, like skunks or raccoons. Embrace all wildlife to create a natural garden and some of those losses become less important.
How to Create a Wildlife Friendly Garden
Creating a garden that embraces wildlife isn’t difficult. You probably already have many key elements in place. Here are some of the most important tips for making your yard or garden more friendly for local critters:
- Plant native species. This is the single most important thing you can do to support wildlife in your garden. Native plants provide food and shelter for native animals. They’ll attract pollinators and other beneficial insects as well. Non-native species may support wildlife, but not all do, and some may even be harmful.
- Provide cover. Animals need cover to nest, raise young, and take cover from predators and the elements. This is a great excuse to minimize yard clean up. Leave at least some of your yard cluttered with brush piles and leaves for the sake of the animals.
- Grow fruit. Wildlife needs food and if you want to prevent nibbling on your ornamental plants or veggies, grow native fruit. Birds in particular will benefit from berries and other fruits native to your region.
- Provide a source of water. Food, cover, and water are the essentials wildlife need to survive in your garden. A pond is ideal, but if you don’t have one or don’t want to put in the time and money to create one, put in one or more birdbaths. Change the water regularly to keep it clean and avoid mosquitoes.
- Avoid pesticides. A healthy ecosystem includes insects. Pesticides harm insects and ultimately through the food chain, they harm all wildlife in your garden. Use sustainable, eco-friendly pest control methods instead. The more friendly your yard is to all native species, the more balance you’ll see and that includes natural pest control.
A wildlife garden is practical and beneficial but is also truly a delight. Enjoy seeing the native animals grow, thrive, and raise young right in your backyard.