10 Simple Things You Can Do to Make Your Yard More Appealing to Wildlife
I get a thrill and a sense of well-being when I see wildlife around my home. Because of my busy lifestyle, my lawn and garden beds tend to look a little more unkempt and a little less manicured than I’d like to, the point where I expect to receive disapproving glares from neighbors. However, this lack of regular pruning, mowing, and trimming produces an unexpected bonus: more natural areas that are welcoming to wild creatures.
There are a number of ways in which you can make your yard more hospitable to wildlife, and many of them require very little effort or maintenance:
1. Build a brush pile. Start with some larger logs, then pile on smaller branches.
2. Make or buy a toad house. Place a chipped ceramic flower pot upside-down with a hole large enough for a toad to enter, or prop the edge of the flower pot up on a stone.
3. Place dog fur, cat fur, bunny fur, and even your own hair clippings outside for birds to use in their nests. You can place the hair/fur in a net bag, or lay it out on bushes.
4. Lay off the pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Look into natural and organic remedies for lawn and garden problems.
5. Install a birdbath. Change the water every two to three days in warm weather, and use a heater in cold months to keep the water from freezing. Don’t warm up the water too much, however; birds might be tempted to bathe and then end up freezing to death.
6. Put up a bat house to encourage the presence of these shy animals. Bats can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour. Plus they’re just really cute.
7. Plant native species that produce yummy edibles for wildlife. Consult a local garden center for plants native to your area.
8. Reduce the size of your lawn. Grass lawns do very little for wildlife; try groundcovers or wildflowers instead.
9. Keep dead trees around. Resist the urge to remove them for aesthetic reasons—they make good animal habitats and bird perches!
10. Grow native flowering plants to encourage butterflies, and place flat basking stones in sunny locations for them to warm their wings on.