Garden For Wildlife

In by Dylan Woods

Days 15 & 16

I Dig It

Did you know that one of every three bites of food depends on pollinators?

Whether it’s a backyard, local park, rooftop garden or schoolyard, any site can be recognized as a certified habitat. Wildlife-friendly gardens have four main components: food, water, cover and places for animals to raise their young.

Here are a few steps to get you started:

Use native plants. They require less maintenance and will attract local wildlife, like butterflies and birds!

Mulch. It retains moisture, improving soil quality and saving water at the same time.

Reuse rain. Capture rain in a rain barrel and use it to water your garden. If you’re setting up a sprinkler, make sure to use a timer to avoid wasting water.

Ditch insecticides. You might not love bugs, but birds do. For some species, they’re a primary food source.

Keep the colors. Reds, yellows, oranges, pinks and purples are favorite finds for butterflies. They’re also attracted to flat-topped or clustered blossoms with short flower tubes.

Leave the dead trees. Let them decompose naturally. Snags and logs are home to a number of animals, like birds, bats and squirrels. The mosses, lichens and fungi that grow on dead trees also return nutrients to the soil through the nitrogen cycle.

Shrub it up. Get creative with shrubs, wildflowers, rock walls and evergreens—they provide great cover for animals!

Pledge to join #ButterflyHeroes & receive a seed kit to provide essential monarch habitat:
  • Find out which plants are native to your area and where you can buy them here and here.
  • Is your garden certifiably wild? Complete your habitat certification application here. You’ll receive a certificate for your wildlife habitat, a window cling, a free one-year membership to the National Wildlife Federation and more!
  • Check out Better Homes and Gardens’ guide to a DIY rain barrel.