How to Attract Wildlife to Your Yard | 10 Easy & Nature-Friendly Ideas

Wondering how to attract wildlife to your yard? It’s actually quite easy, and you can get started today. Read on to discover 10 nature-friendly ideas to transform your yard into a wildlife paradise.

CONTENTS: In this article, you will discover easy things you can do and learn how to attract wildlife to your yard, including:

  1. Plant a Butterfly Garden
  2. Make Your Lawn a Meadow
  3. Build a Vertical Garden
  4. Choose Native Plants
  5. Provide Food for Wildlife
  6. Offer A Source of Fresh Water
  7. Create Shelter
  8. Avoid Pesticides
  9. Allow Some Bugs
  10. Curb Your Pets

Ready? Read on to learn the important details behind each idea.

Best Ways to Attract Wildlife to Your Yard

Critters come looking for the essentials:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Safe Places to burrow and hide.

You can make little additions to your garden area in order to provide these things.

Even if you are short on space, we’ll show you plenty of creative ways to welcome wildlife.

Spring is the perfect time of year to get your yard ready for some visitors, so here are our tips on how to entice them to visit.

1. Plant a Butterfly Garden

If you plant a butterfly garden with nectar-rich flowers, you will attract important pollinators such as butterflies, bumblebees, and even hummingbirds.

An obvious plant that attracts butterflies is the Butterfly Bush (xxx), but there are many others that will suit your climate and conditions. Here are favorite plants that will attract pollinators and are readily available at most garden centers:

  • Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
  • Delphinium (Delphinium elatum)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis)
  • Hollyhocks (Alcea)
  • Blazing Stars (Liatris spicata)
  • Lupine (Lupinus)
  • Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)
  • Petunia (Petunia)
  • Poppy (Papaver)
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)

You can also add a few herbs such as Lavender (Lavandula), Thyme (Thymus), and Thistle (Cirsium).

An added benefit is that these will give off a lovely fragrance.

Herbs are fairly low-maintenance if you’re new to gardening and most will thrive in many different conditions.

Here are a few more gardening tips for beginners.

2. Make Your Lawn a Meadow

Why not add a bit of character to your lawn by transforming it into a meadow?

Add a few colorful plants and let the grass grow a little longer.

Doing so will attract small animals and birds foraging for food to your yard.

If you’re worried about getting unwanted visitors as well, you could always contact lawn grub control services for a wild-life friendly solution.

Leave it a little wild and it will flourish throughout the year.

You may even catch a glimpse little critters hiding between the grass.

3. Build a Vertical Garden

If you have a more modest garden space, make use of your vertical space.

You’ll find there are many creative ways to build a vertical garden and this will attract just as many wild visitors.

Climbers, like Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea) and Clematis, will grow vertically up a trellis or DIY wooden structure.

Vertical gardens create perfect perching and nesting spots for birds, while enhancing your landscape.

Make your vertical a haven for insects and small animals as well with nectar-rich flowers such as Honeysuckle (Lonicera).

4. Choose Native Plants

In order to attract local wildlife, you need to have native plants.

This means the species is indigenous to your area and they will thrive better in your climate.

More exotic plants won’t help to support the ecosystem as much, plus they have a higher environmental impact.

Here are some more tips about native plants and wildlife. Find out which native plants will attract the animals in your neighborhood, and incorporate them into your landscape.

5. Provide Food for Wildlife

If you want to welcome wildlife to your yard, offer your wild visitors something to eat.

You don’t necessarily need to put out human food for animals, but you could tempt birds and butterflies by making your own feeders.

A homemade bird feeder might mean something as simple as a recycled plastic bottle with sticks inserted for perches. Then, simply fill it with birdseed.

Butterflies and hummingbirds will drink sugar water from an upside-down glass bottle, on the other hand. You will enjoy spotting the different species as they fly into your yard.

One note of caution: be sure to be consistent about keeping your feeders full, as wildlife can become dependent on it as a food source.

Another, more natural alternative is to let your plants go to seed, which provides a seasonal food source for birds.

6. Offer A Source of Fresh Water

In addition to food, you’ll want to provide your backyard wildlife visitors with a water source of some kind.

If you the have space, you could create a mini pond. This is fairly easy to do. Try using an old household item filled with water, a few pebbles, and a couple of water plants.

On a smaller scale, opt for a birdbath or water fountain.

Be sure to change the water and keep it moving, if possible. That way, you’ll prevent harmful bacteria, algea, or mosquito larvae from forming.

7. Create Shelter

Even the most precocious critters need a space to feel safe or hide from predators.

It could be as simple as planting a bed of thorny rose bushes, where rabbits love to hide. Other bushes will also provide cover.

Or, you might install some more formal housing. This might include a:

  • Bird house
  • Butterfly House
  • Bat House
  • Bee House

These can easily providing shelter for beneficial creatures, and can also be beautiful additions to your yard!

8. Avoid Pesticides

Pesticides are one of the most harmful things to deter wildlife in your backyard and has lasting detrimental effects on beneficials and the envonment.

In recent years, most homeowners have become aware of their dangers. So, using toxic chemicals to rid yourself of the tinies creatures can go right up the food chain

If you want to attract wildlife to your landscape, avoiding pesticides is key. Always look for more natural solutions to keep your backyard habitat thriving.

9. Allow Some Bugs

Which brings us to the importance of bugs.

You may be squeamish about bugs in your backyard, but they are an invitation to wildlife further up on the food chain.

Birds, bats, and other small creatures love to feast on bugs–including ticks. (Ugh!)

In fact, Mother Nature has a good habit of keeping things in balance, when left to her own devices. And, it’s important that you realize that the bugs are actually working in your favor as a food source.

So turn off the bug-zapper.

10. Curb Your Pets

You might not suspect one major threat to wildlife in your back yard — your furry friends.

It’s estimated that domestic cats account for killing 2.4 billion birds per year in the United States alone. They are incredible hunters, at the detriment to wildlife.

Also, a barking dog sends a clear signal to wildlife to “keep out!”

Worse, they are also excellent hunters and kill plenty of chipmunks, rabbits, and other small creatures.

So, if you want to encourage backyard wildlife, you’ll want to keep kitty inside and curb Fido’s enthusiasm.

You’re backyard wildlife friends will thank you!

Final Thoughts on Attracting Wildlife to Your Yard

Now you know 10 easy ways to attract wildlife to your yard. You can start with one idea, and gradually add others until your backyard is teaming with nature. Then, all you’ll have to do is sit back with your binoculars and enjoy the show!


Photo credits: Chipmunk, Girl with Pink Hat, Robin in Birdbath – Jill Wellington, Butterfly – Smarko, Bee on Ceanothus Concha – ThreeMilesPer Hour, Bird at Feeder – Wolfgang Zimmel, Moths – Silviarita, Lace Wing – Marjon Besteman-Horn; Cat – Sa Ka (Pixabay); Clematis – MaryAnne Campbell, Bat house – Sketchart (Shutterstock)

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

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