Urban spaces displace local wildlife species but you can use your garden to help compensate for lost habitat. By mimicking natural elements, you can roll out the welcome mat for creatures big and small who are looking for refuge.
The general preference is to provide natural food sources. This includes vegetation with fruit, berries, pollen, nuts, seeds and nectar.
When natural food sources are insufficient or scarce, especially in the winter months, you will want to consider supplemental food sources. Suet, seeds, nut, fruit and nectar feeders support birds and mammals foraging for food in your area.
A source of clean water is a necessity for garden wildlife. Creatures will use it for drinking, washing and preening. The water needs to be regularly replenished and the vessel needs to be routinely cleaned; this will help to keep creatures healthy and prevent the spread of disease. And don’t forget to make water available in the winter months too! Water sources can quickly turn to ice, preventing access to this essential resource.
A simple bird bath or shallow bowl of water are quick ways to meet this criterion. Ponds, fountains and water features are more elaborate garden hardscaping solutions.
The wildlife visitors in your garden require protection from predators and the elements. Some garden features that satisfy this requirement include; rock and log piles, evergreen trees and shrubs, mature trees, thick/dense plantings and ground covers.
In order to support wildlife populations, your garden should also encourage courtship, mating and raising young. These features vary greatly depending on the creature. Trees, bird houses, host plants and thickly planted vegetation will support a wide array of wildlife.
The overarching goal of a wildlife garden is to create a habitat that is sustainably managed to benefit all species of vertebrates and invertebrates. You should be considering organic practices, water conservation, integrated pest management and invasive species control.
Canadian Wildlife Federation: “Wildlife-Friendly Garden” designation
National Wildlife Federation: “Certified Wildlife Habitat” designation
Hello! I’m Erin!
Erin has had her hands in a garden from early childhood and she has tended to her own garden for over 14 years. Her passion has only grown with time and it is now a year-round pursuit. Erin is passionate about seed-to-plate food and urban wildlife gardening. She grows food for her family in her Zone 8 urban garden which is a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
Follow Erin on Instagram @TheKnottyGarden to join her on her gardening adventures!
Top picks for flowers for birds:
Top picks for flowers for beneficial insects:
2. Bee balm
3. Sweet alyssum
Not sure what to choose? West Coast Seeds has a number of curated wildlife-friendly wildflower mixes.
1. Biodiversity blend
2. Butterfly blend
3. Hummingbird blend
4. Beneficial insect blend
5. Bee garden blend
6. Bumblebee blend