3 things you need to attract wildlife to your yard

3 things you need to attract wildlife to your yard

Snow White makes it look so easy. Just cry, sing a little song and voilà — happy critters suddenly appear all around you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way.

So what exactly can you do to bring wildlife to your yard? Highly rated experts weigh in with best tips.

Plant a food source

Birdfeeders. Rachelann Conner, landscape designer at Yard Birds in Porter, Texas, says birds remember food sources, and they’ll return to the same spot year after year — even those that travel south for the winter.

Flowering plants. Native flowers that produce nectar attract hummingbirds and butterflies, experts say. Annuals work well when planted in large clusters.

Holly bushes. Birds eat seeds and berries, so holly bushes attract them. Conner says holly is also resilient in the winter, when food is scarce.

Add a water feature

Birdbaths. To add water for the least amount of money, install a birdbath. They cost as little as $25. However, remember to change the water every few days to keep it clean and full.

Urn fountains. For around $1,500, you can add an urn fountain to your landscaping. It enhances your yard with an elegant look and the tranquil sound of running water.

Ponds. If you want to dedicate a larger portion of your backyard to water, consider adding a pond. A typical pond measures 9-by-12 feet and costs about $6,000. Peter Klinkenberg, president of Floridigenous Landscape in Clearwater, Fla., says you can get a smaller pond, measuring 3 to 4 feet across, for about $1,000.

Provide shelter

Trees. Dogwood or redbud trees give birds a high perch to escape ground predators, but low enough to look for food, Conner says.

Butterfly gardens. Butterfly gardens comprise many flowering, nectar-producing plants that also provide food. A butterfly garden costs about $1,000 to $2,000, should have direct sun and should only take up a small portion of your landscaping to avoid a great amount of upkeep.

Milkweed. To specifically attract monarch butterflies, use milkweed. Monarchs lay their eggs in the plant, and young caterpillars feed on it.


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Attract birds and butterflies to your yard

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Member David Schmidt says his wildlife sanctuary also attracts a Cooper's Hawk that occasionally dines on bird at the feeder. (Photo courtesy of Schmidt)
Member David Schmidt says his wildlife sanctuary also attracts a Cooper's Hawk that occasionally dines on bird at the feeder. (Photo courtesy of Schmidt)

Experts say food, water and shelter are three essential things to add to your landscape when you want to attract wildlife.

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