Photo: Megan Forbes
An effective wildlife garden supports a diverse range of creatures and enables them to carry out their entire lifecycle.
Here are a few simple ideas to enhance your garden and the habitat it provides for local wildlife.
To create good habitat, use plants of differing heights and foliage. A combination of trees, shrubs, vines and understorey plants all provide opportunities for wildlife to feed, shelter, roost and nest. Retaining large trees, dead or alive, will provide wildlife with a lookout, enabling them to check the garden before coming down.
Other factors that might influence your choice of plants include:
- Soil type
- Location and aspect of your house
- Likely visitors to your garden
- Your closest bushland refuge.
Working with existing native vegetation and replacing weeds can be both a productive and cost effective way to provide habitat.
Food for wildlife comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Flowering plants not only provide nectar and pollen but also attract insects that become part of the food chain. Plants producing seeds or berries provide a nutritious snack for wildlife, as well as assisting natural regeneration in your garden. Leaves provide food for many insects and mammals, from caterpillars to koalas.
Locally native plants are adapted to our weather and soil conditions and provide the food of choice for local wildlife. When choosing native plants for your garden, selecting a variety of plants with differing flowering seasons will ensure all types of food are available year-round.
Furnish your garden
Incorporating rocks and logs into your garden adds interest as well as providing habitat for wildlife. Other benefits are:
- Providing places for reptiles, like lizards, to bask
- Giving wildlife opportunities to seek refuge from predators
- Providing homes and ground covers that encourage insects, as a food source for outher wildlife.
Fallen branches, especially those with hollows, can provide additional shelter for ground dwelling animals and a place for them to find food. Leaves and small branches also make great building material for nests, just another good reason to put away your rake and relax.
Every living thing needs water. For wildlife, a body of water provides a much needed drink and a refreshing bath. Having water in your garden will help attract birds, frogs, dragonflies and many other species that can all be admired from the comfort of your favourite garden seat!
If you don’t have a naturally occurring body of water, you can easily make your own. Have a look around our garden for some ideas. Perhaps a bird bath or frog pond might suit your garden?
Your Backyard Garden Program
Urban landowners who live near Council bushland reserves, or within wildlife corridors, can make their land more wildlife-friendly by joining the Your Backyard Garden Program.
The program is run by Redland City Council. It provides advice on growing native plants, reducing weeds, pets and wildlife, and water conservation.