To some extent, almost every yard or balcony can be a welcoming location for nature. Bird feeders and watering stations, growing plants that have editable berries or nectar rich flowers, water features and undisturbed brush all can be folded naturally (see what I did there? ) into most yard landscape plans.
Start with Butterflies!
Let’s take Butterflies for instance. What do Butterflies need to flourish? First, they need a source of water, preferredly in a sunny location. If you don’t have a creek (like me, your Creekside Yardboy), you can set up a bird bath and place it so it gets a lot of sun. The reason their wings are so big is they absorb the heat of the sun to get them energized to fly through their wings. Oh, keep an eye on the water level. Those things evaporate quickly.
Next, Butterflies need a food source. Adult butterflies love nectar producing plants, but to thrive, you need the kind of plants that the baby caterpillars like as well. Monarch’s like milkweed, other varieties have their own tastes. Here’s a link to the North American Butterfly Association for a lot more details.
Finally, Butterflies need shelter in the form of shrubs and trees. Again, the NABA can point you to more details.
Begin to Attract Colorful Birds
If you haven’t seen the beauty of nature in the varieties of birds in your area, you are in for a treat! I’ve had great success with two bird feeders, one for black oil sunflower seed which attracts everything from woodpeckers to cardinals to bluebirds; and one for niger seed which attracts flocks of bright yellow and black American Goldfinches and Pine Warblers which look the same, but are a lime green color.
Hummingbirds are a whole category to themselves. I plant a number of long blossomed, red and violet families of vines and shrubs in my yard which attracts them, but they aren’t convenient for me to see the hummers come and go. I’ve tried hummingbird feeders, but they need a lot of regular cleaning and refilling, and attract the Argentine ants (sugar ants) around here like crazy!
I finally gave up and now I only see the hummers when I’m out working. On the bright side, it gives me another reason to get out in the yard and sweat!
Making Your Yard Attractive to Little Mammals & Fish
(If you have a stream or lake)
Having a perennial stream in my backyard (Rum Creek just downstream from the Lake Spivey spillway), separating me from fifteen acres of undisturbed wooded floodplain is a major attractor of all kinds of wildlife.
Yes, I do see the occasional snake. They are part of nature too. But I’ve never seen a poisonous one in my yard. The only poisonous snake native to this area of Georgia is the Copperhead, and it’s pretty distinctive. The rest feast on the voles, chipmunks, and baby rabbits that find their way to my nature preserve hostel.
Then of course, the stream brings all kind of wildlife including river otters in mid winter (We call him Otto!), beavers (Bucky), and of course…