While there might still be a handful of folks that deny the impact our carbon footprint has on our planet, most of us are in agreement that we’re doing a lot of damage to Mother Earth that needs to be reversed, such as encroaching on property that doesn't necessarily belong to us--i.e., forests and wetlands. That’s why more people, including millennials, are starting to think more seriously about their lifestyles and are making more sustainable choices. There are many ways we can reduce our impact on the environment, and that includes making our gardens more friendly to the local wildlife.
One of the biggest problems caused by climate change and the destruction of natural environments is a decline in wildlife. The number of species that are at risk of going extinct is rising every day. Preserving natural habitats is an important step in preventing this, but we can also make a difference at home.
How To Create The Perfect Wildlife Garden At Home
Plant A Tree Or Two
Did you know that 27,000 trees are used each day simply to supply the daily human consumption of toilet paper? Deforestation is a huge concern for the entire planet, but you can take action by planting trees on your own property which, in addition to looking quite lovely, will provide a home for all sorts of wildlife, including a variety of birds, squirrels and beneficial insects. Call a professional and speak with them about what sorts of trees would be best for your home, and that your garden can benefit from.
Install Bird Houses
If it's not possible to plant trees on your property, or your existing trees are too large and inaccessible, you can still use birdhouses to help attract--you guessed it--birds. It's not that difficult to DIY a squirrel-proof bird feeding station, and it's a cool activity to do with the kids. Along with teaching them a little ornithology, they'll also learn a bit about woodworking, too.
Ditch The Lawnmower...Kinda
While you don't have to stop mowing every inch of your lawn for the sake of attracting wildlife to your garden, consider dedicating a solid 12 x 12 patch in a corner of your yard. Let the grass grow freely, and sprinkle wildflower seeds among it to encourage butterflies and bees. Adding a colorful grass, like Pink Muhly (below), will ensure the spot is just as attractive to the human eye as it is to critters like bunnies and chipmunks.
Use Plants & Shrubs That Intentionally Attract Wildlife
It's no surprise that wildlife is attracted to food, so you'll want to have plants that drop berries, nuts and seeds on your property. Chipmunks, squirrels and deer love berries, so consider planting blackberry bushes. Bunnies love clover, which would make a great addition to your unmowed garden patch. Foxes love fruit, so a shrub like the Natal Plum would be perfect for them. Just remember: before you do any planting, be sure you're purchasing the right plants for your zone. You can find your zone at the USDA Hardiness Zone Finder.
Build A Pond
Installing a pond or other water feature is a great way to attract amphibians and reptiles to your yard, especially if you live near an existing population.
Creating a pond isn't as difficult as you might think, and there are some great DIY tutorials on YouTube. Not only will you encourage wildlife to your home with the addition of a pond, you'll be creating something aesthetically pleasing for yourself as well.
Shop For Your Wildlife Garden:
When you’re designing a garden, don’t just focus on what makes a good environment for you; consider what makes a good environment for your local wildlife as well. Check out this infographic that shows how you how to attract different kinds of wildlife to your garden: