In order to create a garden that draws and sustains wildlife, the garden must feature food sources first and foremost. Many times by planting native plant species, you will automatically draw wildlife who will feast upon the berries, nuts, fruits and seeds that these plants produce. Flowering plants are also beneficial as they help attract birds and other creatures that use the nectar, sap or pollen as food.
In addition to food, animals also need a water supply. The water supply might be a natural resource such as a nearby creek or lake, or it can be much smaller and man-made such as setting out a birdbath or a shallow dish in the garden for butterflies to drink from.
If you watch out your window next time it rains, don’t be surprised to find birds or butterflies splashing about in mud puddles. No matter the source, animals will make use of water in any form they can find it.
Just as we do, animals need shelter. Again, plants, shrubs and brush provide this well.
It is also nice to leave hollow logs or tree stumps available for animals to nest in or raise young in, protected from the elements and predators. Ground cover and evergreens make good year-round shelter for a variety of creatures, particularly in winter when other trees and plants are sparse. Rock walls or mounds make good homes for lizards, and beneficial snakes. Leaf or straw mulched areas are an excellent spider habitat.
If you have a very small garden, you might wish to place a roosting box in your yard to offer a home for various creatures. Fennel or parsley plants make great homes for hungry caterpillars.
In order to create an organic variety wildlife garden, it is important that pesticides or other chemicals not be introduced into the garden. Organic gardening not only benefits the wildlife, keeping them safer and healthier, but also the environment, keeping our air and water cleaner and safer too. Instead of chemical fertilizers, organic gardens rely upon compost, which is a natural means to fertilize any garden, chemically free, while recycling food wastes, all at the same time. Composting is a great way to be both earth-friendly and wildlife-friendly.
Wildlife gardens can be watered in an eco-friendly fashion via the use of conservation measures. Rain barrels are an excellent way to collect and reuse rainwater for both plants and animals. Soaker or drip hoses make great alternatives to more wasteful watering or irrigation systems. Consider relying upon one or more of these methods to be as efficient as possible when watering your wildlife garden. You can naturally reduce your water needs via the use of native plant species, as native plants inherently require less water than non-native plants.
Another way to be environmentally aware when creating a wildlife garden is by reducing lawn space to create a sustainable garden. Allowing for less lawn and more natural habitat will naturally draw more creatures to your garden and is a more green way to live, requiring less water and no harmful chemicals.
Written by Jonathan Woodward
I am a dedicated gardener in the UK, helping people to create organic gardens and grow their own food. Recently, I wrote an ebook on the matter, The Gardener’s Guide to Organic Gardening, which is available to purchase cheaply from my website: