Turn Your Garden into a Wildlife Habitat

My Garden Life
May 24, 2021
Table of Contents
No matter the size, a well-organized garden can become a haven for birds, frogs, small animals and beneficial insects. Whether you live in a house in the suburbs or a shared space in the city, you can make the most of any available green areas to create a wildlife habitat that will entice and support wildlife.

In fact, many cities have guidelines you can follow to get your yard certified as a wildlife refuge. With the right plan, you can enjoy evenings listening to frogs and wake up to the songs of birds every morning.

composite image with a dragonfly on a leaf, frog peaking from a pond and a sparrow on a birdbath

Provide Food for Wildlife

Even if you live in the city, you are likely to have wildlife nearby. Urban wildlife often consists of displaced animals looking for a safe resting place. An array of favorite foods is the perfect invitation to your yard.
  • Buy different types of birdseed and feeders so you can enjoy watching a variety of bird species.
  • Hummingbirds visit feeders, but you can also provide them colorful, trumpet-shaped flowers. Grow daylilies, petunias and hollyhocks to keep them happy.
  • Flowers also provide food for bees, butterflies and many other beneficial insects.
  • If you enjoy the antics of squirrels and chipmunks, set out some unsalted peanuts and let the fun begin!
Composite image with birdfeeders and chipmunk eating peanuts.

Water Sources for a Wildlife Habitat

If you love to fall asleep to the sounds of nature, set up a water source in your backyard. A small pond is the perfect attraction for frogs, turtles and dragonflies. You’ll also attract birds looking for a drink or a bath. Look for pond inserts at your local garden center or hardware store. Pedestal birdbaths are an easy addition and provide a decorative touch, as well.

Wildlife habitat -Backyard pond with a variety of water plants.

Build Healthy Garden Soil

You need plants to attract wildlife, but you also need wildlife to nourish your plants. You can give your plants a healthy start by purchasing worms to live in your soil. Adding compost helps creates a rich soil where earthworms can flourish. Over time, the worms multiply and serve as meals for birds. You can make a compost pile in the yard or mix it in a container. A proper environment for wildlife begins with healthy soil.

Composite image with hand holding earthworm and another adding kitchen trips to a compost bin.

Hiding Places for Critters

The dark places under your plants offer shelter for wildlife. You can encourage visitors by letting your plants grow. Trim shrubs and cut back perennials in early spring, then leave the plants alone the rest of the season. A perfectly manicured yard is not ideal for hosting wildlife. You are more likely to find nests in well-hidden areas.
  • Leave some tall grass in a corner or near your pond.
  • Plant shrubs, woody vines and trees to bring more animals to your yard.
  • If you already have large trees, refrain from excessive trimming.
Small urban frontyards filled with plants that offer wildlife habitat even in a big city.

Instead of focusing entirely on aesthetics in your outdoor spaces, think about what different creatures need to shelter and survive, and then adapt some of your space to meet those needs. With a little effort, your yard can become the home for many living things!

Trees are essential for providing shelter and nesting places for wildlife. They also provide cooling shade in the heat of summer. Even small-space dwellers can enjoy the benefits of trees with our selection of 12 Small Trees for a Big Landscape Look.

Nicely landscaped urban brick row houses.


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