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Landscaping to Attract Wildlife

Creating a landscape for wildlife

The great outdoors can be enhanced by getting to interact with some of your local wildlife. Although you do not want wild animals living in your home, it is possible to get some local fauna to your living space with effective landscaping. There are four elements animals need to survive, and therefore four things you must provide in order to attract wildlife to your backyard or garden:

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Shelter
  4. A place to reproduce and raise young

The types and arrangements of plants used in landscaping your space will determine how each of these categories is fulfilled, and which animals will be attracted to your space.


Using native trees, shrubs and plants is the best way to provide food for the wildlife in your area. Most species of wildlife require foods such as berries, nectar, pollen, foliage, seeds or nuts. Native plants will be most likely to thrive in your specific environment and will provide the food preferred by local wildlife. Certain food sources can attract certain species of animals.  Butterflies, for example, use flower nectar for food.  Butterflies are typically attracted to areas with bright red, yellow, orange, pink or purple flowers that are exposed to the sun. Birds on the other hand, eat a wide variety of foods including seeds, nuts, berries, and insects.  They often need mix of different trees and plants to find their food.


Animals use water for many functions, like drinking and bathing. Water is not as species specific as food, so almost any sources of water that is accessible to different species would do the trick. Some common sources are birdbaths, ponds, or rain gardens. There are a few ways in which you can use water to attract certain species of animals to your space. Butterflies often use mud puddles, sometimes called Puddle Areas, to drink and seek certain salts or minerals. Water can also be used to attract dragonflies by creating a dragonfly pond.


Wildlife will choose to live in areas where they will be safe from predators, humans and the weather. The size and arrangement of the plants used will provide coverage for different types of animals. Layering plants and using a variety of trees, low shrubs and ground coverings will ensure that there is coverage for animals of different sizes. Birds will have trees to live in, small rodents or rabbits can hide in the ground coverings, and medium sized animals such as foxes have low shrubs to hide behind. Man made shelters, such as bird houses or bee houses, can also be used to attract and protect certain wildlife.

A place to reproduce and raise young

            Providing a proper habitat for wildlife entails giving them a space for the entire life cycle to occur. Many species use the same areas or features they used for shelter as a place to have and raise their young. Some of these areas include trees, shrubs, and burrows. Man made structures, such as birdhouses or nesting boxes, can also be used.

Landscaping your backyard or garden to attract wildlife may be the easiest way to see nature up close and in person. Attracting specific species of wildlife is as easy as adding and arranging features that provide them with the food, water, and shelter they need to thrive. If you are looking to update your landscape design, check out our services page to see what might be right for you!


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