You Can Design and Create A Bird Garden

Garden Finch

Have ever considered creating a bird garden?

You can attract a wide variety of bird species using bird feeders and nest boxes. But if you'd rather use a more natural approach consider landscaping your yard, or just a part of it, to be more bird-friendly.

You don't need a large yard to create a bird garden. Planting a variety of trees, shrubs and flowers can provide good nesting sites, winter shelter, places to hide from predators, and natural food supplies that are available all year round.

All it takes is some planning and a modest amount of work. If you already enjoy gardening, then creating a bird garden will be easy. But if you're new to wildlife gardening don't worry, you don't need to be a horticulturist to be successful.

Your yard may already provide a good supply of food, water and shelter for your local bird population.

However, if you are like me, you will need to make some changes to your yard. Creating a bird garden can be as simple or complex as you desire.

Whichever approach you choose, you will be rewarded with beautiful wild birds that will bring color and bird songs into your life all year long.

There are many benefits to creating a bird garden in your yard to attract wild birds:

Increased Bird Populations

Creating sustainable natural habitats for wild birds is more important than ever before. Suitable natural bird habitats continue to be lost to development. You can probably double the number of wild birds visiting your property by implementing a good landscaping plan.

Natural Beauty

A good bird-friendly yard contributes to a beautiful, natural setting around your home that is pleasing to people as well as to birds.

Wild Bird Photography

finch on cone flower

Photography and bird watching are both wonderful hobbies. By creating a bird garden, you will be able to take pictures of wild birds in a more natural setting.

Bird Watching

Bird watching and gardening are two of the most popular hobbies in America. Creating a bird garden to attract birds brings the two of them together. Your success will result in having more birds to watch right in your own backyard.

Insect Control

It is no secret that wild birds keep populations of insects such as ants, aphids, flies, termites, etc. in check and they do this without the use of expensive and hazardous pesticides and chemicals.

Education for Kids

Creating a bird garden can inspire young people to develop a lifelong interest in wildlife and conservation.

Here are a few guidelines to help you get started:

Set Your Priorities

Build a plan around the types of wild birds you wish to attract. Then prioritize your goals by what will have the most impact. If you are unsure which species live in your area, then watch your bird feeders and make a list of the most common visitors. You can also talk to your neighbors or contact a local bird club for more information about the birds in your area.

Use Native Plants When Possible

birdhouse in flowers

Your bird garden will be more successful when you use plants native to your area. Not only are the plants more likely to thrive, but also the foods produced by them will be better suited for the wild birds that live around you.

Protect the environment and build a native habitat for wildlife with a native rain garden.

Draw a Site Plan of Your Property

Make a basic site plan, include buildings, sidewalks, power lines, buried cables, fences, septic tank fields, trees, shrubs and patios. Consider how your plan relates to your neighbor's property. Identify and map sunny or shady sites, low or wet sites, sandy sites and native plants that will be left in place.

Have Your Soil Tested

Before beginning any landscaping project, you should have your soil tested by your local garden center, county extension agent or soil conservation service. Find out what kind of soil you have and then find out if your soil has nutrient or organic deficiencies that fertilization or addition of compost can correct. The soil you have will help determine the plants that can be included in your landscaping plan.

Do You Have a Water Source in Your Yard?

If not, you should at least install a birdbath. You could also install a pond that will create a more natural look and feel. Supplying a source of water can double the number of wild birds attracted to your yard.

The Most Important Part of Your Bird Garden Plan is Choosing the Right Plants

Evaluating what you already have in your yard is the best place to start. Do you need to add shelter? Maybe a natural food source?

Consider adding:

Rufous hummingbird and flower

Develop Your Planting Plan

Once you have chosen the plants that you want to add to your landscape, sketch them on your site plan. Be sure to take into account the mature size of trees and shrubs. This will help you calculate how many trees and shrubs your yard can accommodate. Be sure to leave open sunny sites where the flowers and shrubs can thrive. Decide on your budget. How much you can spend during the time span of your project. Don't try to do too much at once. Set realistic goals for yourself.

Implement Your Plan

finch in flower tree

Planting your bird garden is where the fun begins. Include your entire family so that everyone will feel involved in the creation of your new wild bird habitat.

Document your plantings on paper and with photographs. Try taking pictures of your yard from the same spots every year to document the growth of your plants.

Maintain Your Plantings

Maintaining your new trees, shrubs and flowers should be part of your overall plan. Keeping the soil around your new plantings moist is one of the most important things you can do. You can make this task easier with the use of landscaping film, wood chips or bark mulch. This will also reduce weeds without the use of herbicides.

Take the time to enjoy what you have accomplished. Be patient, it may be several weeks or months before you see the rewards of your hard work.

Here is a site with tips on creating a beautiful butterfly garden to enjoy with ideas for planning and knowledge about gardening.

Back to the top of Creating a Bird Garden page.

Need some great ideas for growing a garden with less water? Have a look at Drought Smart Plants 

helps you find plants that revel in drought and challenging conditions.

Return to A Home for Wild Birds Home


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