Wildlife numbers have been plummeting drastically over the last 50 years with North America alone losing nearly three billion birds in this period. The population of monarch butterflies and many other types of wildlife have also dwindled considerably.
All hope is not lost though as esteemed naturalist David Mizejewski believes that suburban gardens can help boost wildlife populations by providing shelter, food, water, and breeding grounds to local mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles.
In order for a garden to provide all of these, it will have to become wildlife-friendly first. Here are a few simple tips on how to turn your own garden into a wildlife sanctuary.
Cultivate an inviting lawn
If you want to attract wildlife into your garden you can’t go wrong with letting your grass grow. Birds, mammals, and insects will all feel more at home in natural grass than on a perfectly manicured lawn.
To truly become inviting for wildlife you will have to let your grass grow for at least a month. After this time you will find it teeming with a variety of flowers and plants that will transform your lawn into a beautiful mini meadow.
You can even plant wildflowers directly on your lawn to obtain a more aesthetically pleasing result. While letting your grass grow remember that you will also have to stop using any potentially harmful fertilizers and pesticides that could be harmful to the wildlife you want to attract to your garden.
Offer visitors fresh water
Water is absolutely crucial for the survival of all wildlife. There are many ways you can go about adding a freshwater source to your garden.
Depending on the size of your garden and your budget you might want to build a full-sized pond that will provide wildlife with water to drink and a place to cool down on hot days.
Even if you do not have a lot of space at your disposal you can always sink an old basin or bowl into the ground and beautify the space by planting wildflowers near it or even just erect a birdbath in a shady spot in your garden.
Whatever water source you choose, remember that it will have to be cleaned on a regular basis and that frequent topping up will more than likely be required during summer.
Adequate shelter is always inviting
Offering a safe place to rest is one sure-fire way to attract a variety of wildlife into your garden. Trees and shrubs can both offer shelter to insects, birds, and small mammals that make their way into your garden. If you want to attract specific wildlife, you may want to either make or buy a structure that will appeal to them.
Bird boxes can be hung from tree branches or erected on top of poles while frog pots are most useful when placed near your water source. If it is hedgehogs you want to invite into your garden, provide them with a cozy hedgehog house where they can either choose to rest briefly or occupy for an indefinite period of time.
Bee hotels are another wonderful addition to a wildlife-friendly garden and will help keep the precious pollinators safe.
Wildlife-friendly gardens have become extremely popular in recent times. Thankfully, a few basic tips are often all that is needed to turn a perfectly manicured suburban garden into a glorious wild paradise.