5 Ways to Enjoy Nature in Your Own Backyard

Simple tips for attracting birds, butterflies and other wildlife

  • NWF Staff
  • Apr 23, 2010
IMAGINE CREATING A PEACEFUL OASIS filled with singing birds, colorful butterflies and beautiful plants. Whether you have a small city balcony or a 20-acre farm, it’s easier than you might think to create a wildlife-friendly garden—one that will offer close-up views of nature’s wonders.

Here are five ways to attract and protect wildlife:

1. Provide Food

Like you, birds and other creatures need to eat. Native plants provide nourishment in the form of foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts. Feeders can supplement natural food sources. Simple start: Plant a shrub that flowers for pollinators and produces berries for birds and other animals.

2. Offer Water

Wildlife needs clean water for drinking, bathing and reproduction. Ponds, streams and wetlands are among the natural sources. Bird baths, rain gardens and puddling areas for butterflies are among the human-made sources. Simple start: Put out a shallow dish filled with water. Even small features will be used by wildlife.

3. Give Them Cover

For protection from predators and inclement weather, wildlife visitors need places to take cover. Some examples of shelter are trees, dense shrubs, rock walls, wildflower meadows, snags and brush piles. Simple start: Plant an evergreen.

4. Provide Places to Raise Young

Animals need sheltered spaces to bear and rear their offspring. Many locations that offer cover can double as these havens. Other options include nesting boxes and frog ponds. Simple start: Grow a host plant for caterpillars.

5. Go Green

How you maintain your garden can affect the health of the soil, air, water and vegetation that both wildlife and humans depend on. Composting, mulching and reducing the amount of turf grass in your yard are among the sustainable ways to conserve and protect natural resources. Simple start: Eliminate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.


Garden for Wildlife: NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat Program
“The Backyard Revolution” by Richard Louv
“16 Tips for Wildlife Gardening with Kids” by Kelly Senser
Read More: Wildlife Gardening Archives

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