Many of us like the idea of creating safe places for wildlife to live, and with patience and persistence, our gardens can become those places. With a combination of adding a few elements here and there, and leaving a few elements here and there, we can provide habitat for all sorts of creatures.

Source: Wild Your Garden with Joel Ashton/Youtube

Animals, like humans, have a few needs that must be met. Unfortunately, urban and suburban development has decimated the spots where these basic requirements—food, water, shelter—were once abundant. Wild animals have been consistently pushed further and further afield, crowded into new spaces while being crowded out of others.

For those of us who want to help, one thing we can do is go out of our way to provide some of the basics in our yards and gardens, sharing as best we can with the wildlife that is native to where we live. It’s not so difficult.

Leave It

First things first, sometimes providing habitat for animals is as simple as not destroying the existing habitat of animals. In the grand scheme of things, that would be using the spaces we’ve already damaged instead of buying homes in new developments, thus creating demand for more expansion.

In our yards, this could be as simple as investigating things before we act. Are any animals living in that pile of leaves gathered in the corner of the backyard? Before we rake it up and take it all away, is there something foraging through and living in what has fallen? Sometimes we can help by just leaving stuff.

Protect It

Protecting the native plants, we do have means a lot to the native animals that are still trying to scratch out a living in our neighborhoods. They have evolved to use what grows naturally in the area, so the more of it we can conserve, the more we assist native animals with their survival.

This can happen in a lot of ways. First of all, we can allow natural grasses and “weeds” to grow on our lawn instead of killing them for trendier choices. We can do the same for natural shrubs and trees. Rather than replacing them with something from a nursery, we can protect native plants that the wildlife use for food and homes.

Plant It

In addition to leaving things in place when possible and protecting what habitat still exists, we can add to it. There are beautiful native trees, shrubs, and herbs wherever we may live, and planting those rather than other plants means a great deal to the native wildlife.

We can add to the food and shelter available rather than choosing plants that have little to no value for the animals living around us. The birds will be very excited, as will all of the mammals. The right plants in the right place are vital for their survival, and we have the power the sow what makes sense.

Source: TRUE FOOD TV/Youtube

Dig It

Water is crucial for animals, just as it is for humans, but of course, most animals can’t turn on taps to get a drink. They have to find a source of water, which can be scarce in urban and even suburban areas, where most of that has been eliminated for more space to build. Wetlands get filled in, and low-lying areas smooth out.

We can help with some simple solutions. It can start with things as simple as a birdbath or two around the garden. We can also install little garden ponds to provide habitat. We can use some of our space, particularly where water typically stands, to create wetlands. This will be great for birds, butterflies, bees, and mammals, as well as frogs, toads, lizards, and so on.

Build It

When living options are low, we can always build habitats for animals. There are all sorts of fun projects that will provide animals with easy choices for living. Plus, we can often get a lot of benefits from having resident birds and bats and bugs.

Bug hotels are fun, creative structures that can be homes for solitary bees, spiders, and lots of other crawling and flying little guys that can pollinate, control pests, and provide music. Birdhouses and bat houses can keep those aeronautic wonders swooping around in our skies, often devouring mosquitoes. Rockeries are great places for lizards and toads and various garden snakes.

When we take the time to appreciate the animals around us, enjoying their songs or business or presence, it becomes really easy to cater to their needs while meeting our own. A garden can be a great place for all sorts of wildlife to live.

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