Wildlife Gardening for Beginners: Five Simple Steps

The National Wildlife Federation is celebrating Garden for Wildlife Month this May. People might assume they have to be a wildlife gardening expert to get involved.  The reality is that even gardening novices can get involved, and, in so doing, make a real difference for America’s wildlife.

Here are some simple wildlife tips for the gardening novice:

1. Be Open-Minded

If you have a front, back or side yard at your home, with even small spaces for plants, you can get started.  No yard space?  You can garden for wildlife on a deck or balcony using potted plants and containers.

2. Get a bird feeder

Most wildlife gardens have one or more bird feeders in their yard or on their deck.  You can get a feeder at most stores or order them from  National Wildlife Federation’s online catalog.

3. Incorporate a Water Feature

This is a fancy way of saying “birdbath” or other type of water supply for birds and other creatures.  There are even bird baths designed for decks. A good internet search will reveal a world of different ways that gardeners provide water for wild creatures.

4. Plant Native Plants

This is the term used to describe plants that are native to your region rather than having been imported from exotic locations in Europe or Asia.  One easy way to learn more about what flowering plants are available in your area is to look at the American Beauties Program. Or check out more about using native plants and our top 10 native plants in each region of the U.S. You can also find information on local nurseries that carry these and other native plants. Flowering plants are good for attracting insects, butterflies and other creatures such a hummingbirds. You might also want to plant some shrubs or trees.

5. Keep a brush or wood pile

A brush pile in an undisturbed corner of the garden to provide shelter for insects and mammals.   This may not be such a good idea for deck but, in a yard, it would be a real haven for wild creatures.

Will this work? Absolutely! At the National Wildlife Federation, we hear many stories of people who added these wildlife features to their yard or deck and almost immediately had birds, butterflies and amphibians move in.

So if you would like have fun with NWF’s Garden for Wildlife Month this year you can provide our wild friends have their own oasis – right there at your home.  And then — you can make your garden an Certified Wildlife Habitat® !

To learn more about wildlife gardening, National Wildlife Federation has a terrific guide called Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Backyard Wildlife.

Certify Your Garden as a Wildlife Habitat

Learn more about attracting wildlife to your garden and how you can become a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat® >>