Skip to Content

Landscaping for Wildlife: 10 Tips for a Wildlife-Friendly Yard (2023)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

landscaping with wildlifeCreating an outdoor sanctuary that is hospitable to wildlife doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re looking for a way to make your yard more inviting for birds, butterflies, and other animals, landscaping with wildlife in mind can help create the perfect haven.

Here are 10 tips on how you can go about designing a landscape that will not only boost its aesthetic appeal but also provide sustenance and shelter for local wildlife populations.

From limiting the amount of lawn space to providing water sources, these ideas should help get started on building your own piece of paradise right in your own backyard!

Key Takeaways

  • Landscaping with wildlife in mind creates a hospitable outdoor sanctuary for birds, butterflies, and other animals.
  • Collaborating with neighbors to create larger habitat patches benefits local species like cedar waxwings.
  • Planting diverse native plants, trees, shrubs, and vines maximizes biodiversity and provides food sources for wildlife.
  • Providing nesting sites with nest boxes or natural cavities is important for sheltering birds.

Ten Tips for Landscaping for Wildlife

landscaping with wildlife 1
You can make your yard a haven for wildlife by following these ten tips to create an inviting habitat for the animals in your area. Expand the scale of habitat by collaborating with neighbors and creating larger patches together to benefit local species like cedar waxwings.

Maximize biodiversity through planting diverse native plants, trees, shrubs, and vines; these will provide food sources from soft mast such as berries or hard mast such as nuts. Provide nesting sites with nest boxes or natural cavities in trees and shrubs, which are important places for birds to find shelter when needed.

Another way you can increase biodiversity is by reducing lawn space; replacing it instead with vertical layering of different plant heights that provides more cover opportunities while also giving feeding options for wildlife species.

Don’t forget about water either: birdbaths or ponds will attract even more creatures looking for a drink! And finally, remember not to use pesticides as they negatively affect insect diversity – which is a crucial food source for many animals living around us!

By taking all these steps when designing landscapes, we can restore critically needed habitats back into our cities while also making them look beautiful at the same time – something both people and wildlife alike could enjoy equally! It’s amazing how much impact one single backyard has on its surroundings, so let’s try to take advantage of that power wisely today.

Limit the Amount of Lawn

Limit the Amount of Lawn
Reducing the amount of lawn in your yard benefits wildlife by providing food, cover, and space. By creating alternatives such as gardens made up of diverse plant species native to your area, you can invite local wildlife into your backyard and create a haven for them.

Native plants offer four seasons’ worth of interest with their flowers. They also provide fruit production during late summer months, which is important for fall migrants looking for energy sources before migration season begins.

These fruits are consumed by various birds and mammals alike! Trees like oaks or hickories will provide nuts that serve as an emergency food source, while shrubs like hawthorn or crabapple retain their fruit through wintertime – essential when natural resources have become scarce due to harsh weather conditions.

Non-native plants do not offer the same benefits as native ones. They take away from these needed resources because they usually require more maintenance than natives without giving back any real value in return – making it difficult for nearby habitats to thrive if left unchecked! You should also consider adding nest sites such as evergreen trees or brush piles, which could act as sheltering spots when predators come too close.

All this work put together creates a vibrant landscape that’s beneficial both aesthetically but also, most importantly, provides much-needed habitat support so our local wild creatures can survive in modern times just like us humans!

Increase Vertical Layering

Increase Vertical Layering
By increasing vertical layering with different plant heights, you can provide more cover and feeding opportunities for wildlife. To really encourage native species to thrive on your property while reducing disturbance from other animals, it’s important to create connections between plants by planting in a way that creates diversity.

Planting trees like American Beech or Eastern Hemlock will form an overhead canopy and provide shade for those underneath them.

Creating these diverse habitats offers wildlife refuge from predators, access to food sources, areas where they can nest safely, and pathways that connect one area of the yard with another.

To further increase the appeal (and usefulness) of this type of habitat patch, be sure to include plenty of native trees, shrubs, and vines throughout – all providing food and shelter needed so our local wild creatures can survive modern times just like us humans! Also, consider adding nest sites such as evergreen trees or brush piles, which could act as safe havens when predators come too close.

Damage to tree roots and bark should always be avoided during construction if possible too.

In short, by investing time into creating a unique space full of life-supporting features, it’s possible to not only restore critically needed habitat but also beautify your yard at the same time – allowing both people and nature to flourish together harmoniously side-by-side!

Provide Snags and Brush Piles

Provide Snags and Brush Piles
Adding snags and brush piles to your yard is a great way to create essential habitat for wildlife.

Create Habitat Areas Add Snags Plant Shrubs Use Native Plants
Offer Water Cavity-nesting birds
Dead Trees
Tree Cavities
Small Trees
Tall Trees

Landscaping with an eye towards creating wildlife habitats can be both rewarding and beneficial. Adding snags (dead trees) and brush piles not only provides cover but also offers food sources like insects that are attracted by decaying wood.

The addition of small trees in the understory as well as tall trees in the canopy will help create diverse layers of vegetation which offer shelter from predators while providing access to food sources throughout different seasons.

Finally, don’t forget about water availability – adding birdbaths or ponds offer additional resources needed by animals living within urban environments such as cities where natural water supplies may have been destroyed due to some development activities over time.

Provide Water

Provide Water
You can provide a valuable resource to nearby wildlife by adding birdbaths or ponds to your yard! Such water sources are essential for creating and sustaining healthy wildlife habitats, especially in areas that have been developed over time.

Here are three ways you can use water sources in landscaping with wildlife:

  1. Native plants like Eastern White Pine, Eastern Red Cedar, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Prunus Serotina, and Fagus Grandifolia all require moist soil conditions, which means they will naturally need more frequent watering than other species.

    This provides an additional food source for local animals such as birds or small mammals who rely on the fruits of these trees/shrubs throughout the year.

  2. Adding birdbaths or shallow dishes filled with fresh drinking water helps keep wildlife hydrated during hot summer days while also providing them places to bathe. This is equally important when it comes to keeping their feathers clean! Additionally, these resources attract different kinds of creatures from frogs and dragonflies up through larger birds like herons and egrets.
  3. Water features such as streams help create natural corridors between patches of grassland vegetation, allowing various species to move freely without having to cross roads where vehicles may pose danger.

    This also helps reduce pet management. Not only would this benefit animals, but it would also encourage biodiversity due to its contribution towards pollination via native insects attracted by wetter soils.

    Thus, helping reduce pesticide reduction too! All these elements combined make sure no one has ever had a better-looking garden than yours because it’s home to not just beautiful flowers but a full array of life forms at the same time.

Plant Native Vegetation

Plant Native Vegetation
Now that you’ve provided water to your backyard habitat, it’s time to look at what native vegetation will help increase biodiversity and create a healthy wildlife habitat. Native species are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, meaning they require less maintenance than non-native plants.

Planting trees like American beech or birch can provide food for both mammals and birds in the form of nuts or fruits. Deciduous shrubs such as highbush cranberry offer berries throughout the fall migration season.

Invasive exotic pest plants must also be taken into consideration when selecting plant varieties for a wildlife-friendly landscape. These invasive species outcompete other plant life by taking up space without providing any benefits for animals living nearby.

Instead of using non-native ornamentals such as English ivy, which smothers natural areas over time, try planting natives that have been proven successful more sustainably.

Native Trees Native Ground Covers Invasive Species Wildlife-Friendly Alternatives
American Beech Wintergreen English Ivy Oak/ Hickory/ Cherry Tree / Sassafras Tree
Birch Highbush Cranberry

Provide Bird/Bat Houses and Bird Feeders

Provide Bird/Bat Houses and Bird Feeders
Attract birds and bats to your yard by providing bird/bat houses and feeders! Birdwatching is an incredibly rewarding hobby, so why not create the perfect conditions for feathered friends to take up residence?

You can begin by selecting native plants that produce nectar-rich flowers or seed mixes. This will provide food for a variety of species as well as potential nesting sites in tree roots or nearby shrubs.

Artificial nesting boxes are also useful if you’re looking to attract particular types of birds, such as chickadees or bluebirds.

In addition, adding strategically placed bird feeders stocked with seed mixtures can help increase diversity among visiting avian guests; this is especially true during winter months when natural supplies may be scarce.

Finally, don’t forget about suet feeders that offer high-fat content year-round along with dish-style baths filled with fresh water for drinking and bathing purposes during summertime heatwaves! All these features combined form a safe haven where wild creatures feel comfortable enough to come explore their surroundings without fear – creating an enjoyable experience both indoors and out that everyone can appreciate from afar (or close-up!).

Remove Invasive Exotic Plants

Remove Invasive Exotic Plants
Removing invasive exotic plants from yards and neighborhoods is key to preserving native wildlife habitats and increasing biodiversity. It can also reduce damage caused by these plants to local wildlife that depends on ground cover for protection, food, or nesting sites.

To create corridors of habitat within urban areas, homeowners should look into removing any non-native plant species that have been introduced in the area over time. Replacing those with hardy native vegetation will help increase biodiversity as well as provide food sources for birds like blackberries and raspberries while offering shelter through thicker foliage layers than many invasive exotics offer.

Native trees such as oaks may even enhance nest cavities, which are important for songbirds looking to raise a family! And don’t forget about shrubs like dogwoods, which produce fruit late in the season – an essential source of nutrition during migration periods when other foods might be scarce!

Beyond just adding diversity back into your yard, replacing those invaders with locally adapted plant species can make it easier on you too since they require less maintenance than their foreign counterparts do.

So take a step today towards creating healthier ecosystems where everyone wins: human inhabitants included!

Manage Pets

Manage Pets
Managing pets, especially cats, is essential to protect wildlife populations in your yard and neighborhood. Pet proofing can help reduce the impact of domestic animals on wild species by keeping them away from sensitive habitats like bird nests or small mammal burrows.

Leash walking will also keep roaming pets from straying into areas they shouldn’t be, while pet sitters can provide an extra layer of protection when needed.

For those who have feral cats living nearby, it’s important to remember that these creatures require food too – so providing ample resources around your home for them as well as ways for them to access a safe shelter will ensure both humans and animals are happy!

It’s not just our four-legged friends we need to consider either; birds like wild turkeys or backyard birds may use yards for nesting sites during certain times of the year, which could put their eggs at risk if left unattended! Planting trees such as American crabapple (Malus coronaria) or staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) along edges creates additional cover, while adding shrubs such as juniperus virginiana or American holly (Ilex opaca) provides dense evergreen foliage that’ll give feathered visitors more places to hide out when necessary.

Keeping an eye on pet activities within our immediate surroundings helps us better understand how different habitats might be impacted by human actions – even if they don’t seem immediately obvious – allowing us all to take steps towards creating healthier ecosystems where everyone wins: people included! By following some simple guidelines, you can easily make sure your furry companions stay safely contained without compromising any local biodiversity along the way.

Reduce Pesticide Use

Reduce Pesticide Use
Reducing your pesticide use not only helps protect wildlife but also saves you money in the long run! By choosing to go more natural with plant selection and landscaping techniques, you can attract wildlife to your yard while still controlling pests.

Planting native vegetation that is adapted for local conditions instead of exotic plants will help reduce the risk of invasive species taking over. Additionally, planting a variety of flowering perennials provides an abundant source of nectar for pollinators like bees and butterflies while providing shelter from predators too.

When selecting woody plants such as shrubs or trees that provide food sources, consider those which offer both soft mast (such as blackberries) along with hard mast (nuts).

By creating a diverse habitat using these types of plants that include multiple layers at varying heights, it increases cover and feeding opportunities. This will benefit all kinds of insects, including beneficial ones like ladybugs who prey upon aphids naturally rather than relying on chemical treatments.

Keeping up with regular maintenance, such as removing dead limbs or brush piles from areas near natural waterways, reduces any potential runoff into nearby wetlands or streams. This safeguards wild creatures’ access to clean drinking water and preserves their natural habitats within our urban environment, further away from human influence.

Finally, supporting existing initiatives by collaborating with neighbors when it comes time to landscape larger swaths around communities creates valuable corridors connecting fragmented patches together.

This allows animals like foxes easy passage between pockets of nature reserves without interruption by roadsides filled with danger due to traffic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I know which native plants are best for my yard?

Transform your yard into a wildlife haven! Select native plants that produce soft and hard mast, provide cover and nest sites, give off incredible four seasons’ interest – all while creating an awe-inspiring ecosystem.

What is the best way to control pests without using pesticides?

Control pests without pesticides by introducing natural predators, encouraging beneficial insects, creating physical barriers, and using traps. Plant flowers that attract beneficial bugs to create a balanced ecosystem in your yard.

What steps can I take to manage my pets to protect wildlife?

Take steps to keep your pets safe and secure, such as leashing them when outside or providing a fenced yard. Regularly check outdoor areas for evidence of wildlife presence. Avoid feeding pets outdoors so that wild animals do not become overly reliant on human food sources.

What kind of bird feeders attract the most birds?

Bird feeders that offer a variety of seeds will attract the most birds. Choose feeders with perches and multiple feeding ports, as well as those offering suet cakes or nectar for hummingbirds.

What is the best way to collaborate with my neighbors to create larger habitat patches for wildlife?

Reach out to your neighbors and collaborate with them to create larger habitat patches for wildlife.


Your yard can be a haven for wildlife! By following these simple tips, you can create a wildlife-friendly landscape that provides food, cover, water, and space – all of which are essential for a thriving wildlife population.

While it may seem like a daunting task to create a habitat for wildlife, it doesn’t have to be. With some planning, your yard can be a sanctuary for a variety of species, while still being a source of joy to you and your family.

So, get started landscaping for wildlife today – you won’t regret it!

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.