Whether you live in the country or are an urban city dweller with a small block of land, everyone loves attracting wildlife and listening to the gentle sound of birds singing in their backyard. Nowadays though, with introduced plants and animals stifling native food resources, our ecosystem has suffered immensely. Our native species unfortunately now face new predators and higher levels of competition for habitat, food and shelter. Restoring our local biodiversity and resolving the issue of invasive animals and plants is something everyone can play a part in helping to achieve.
If you are considering an upgrade to your outdoor living area, and are looking for simple front garden designs, planning ahead will help avoid any headaches and overspending. By checking local council resources, consulting with a local nursery and using the right garden design as your inspiration you’ll be supporting restoration efforts. Which means….more native wildlife species will join you for your morning cuppa out on the deck!
Creating an environment which supports local biodiversity is one of the best ways to rebalance the natural ecosystem of your area. By incorporating local elements of your region into your native garden design, your backyard (and your neighbours) will naturally start to attract more local wildlife such as birds, possums, lizards and even butterflies!
Below we’ve listed our top five recommendations to help you along your way to backyard bliss.
Tip One: Plan Your Landscape.
You don’t have to look far to find garden inspiration.
Choosing a design which matches your location, climate zone and desired maintenance level is an important first step – as you don’t want to be left with an unmanageable garden. During this step, it’s great to take a seat somewhere in your yard so you can consider all your options. Do you have any objects, such as large trees, which are permanent fixtures? What type of soil do you have? Are you looking to utilise larger trees and materials to create some privacy? Is access to the site required for larger objects? This is a good time to use a sketchbook and make a basic scale drawing of your space so you know exactly what your little patch of land is capable of.
Tip Two: Plant the Right Plants.
The best way to encourage your local ecosystem to flourish and attract native wildlife to your backyard is to plant a garden full of native plants.
To know what is right for your home pop down to your local nursery and ask for native plants suited to your area. Bring your design with you so they can get a feel for what you are looking for. Your council’s website should also provide a list of the best plants for you to get started. Alternatively, your local branch of the Australian Native Plants Society may also provide guides on suitable plants. A selection of mixed colours and textures can also help liven your area and harmonise a garden.
When choosing your plants, make sure you:
- Know how much sun your yard receives.
- Purchase any required garden bedding or compost.
- Take into account the mature height and size of each plant and species.
- Place taller plants towards the back and consider the direction of root growth.
- Position the plants, while still in their pots, where you’d like them to sit so you can see what your yard will look like. Ensure, when doing this, you take into account what distance they require from other plants and if you’re looking for a more formal setting, plant in rows.
The biggest advantage of planting species specific to your region is the fact they know how to survive the often harsh Australian climate. Depending on where you live, your selection will most likely not require a lot of water or fertiliser and can potentially reduce backyard weeds. To give your plants and soil the best chance of thriving all year round, we recommending adding mulch as this will help keep soil temperature down during the hotter months and likewise, lock in moisture during the wet seasons.
Tip Three: Provide Food & Water.
If you want to listen to the sound of chirping birds and watch native wildlife gather around you, treat them as you would any other guest by providing them with delicious food and clean water.
Depending on what native wildlife you have around you, your selection of indigenous plants should provide them with enough nectar and seeds all year round. Banksias are the ideal bird-attracting plant as they offer nectar and seeds which will encourage a wide variety of visits. Alternatively, a bird feeder is a stylish way to bring birds into your backyard.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can draw in the carnivorous Kookaburras and Currawongs by eliminating and not using pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in your backyard. This will encourage insects, small lizards, worms, and frogs to thrive; all of which carnivorous birds love to eat!
If you’re looking to have your feathered friends entertaining you with their antics in the warmer months, you can’t look past a bird pool. Keep in mind, like with anyone; they will require fresh and clean water every day.
Tip Four: Provide Safety & Shelter.
Some animals prefer open areas where visibility is good whereas other prefer shrubs and hidden nooks to relax in. To increase the appeal of your yard to native wildlife, ensure you cater to their preference so they can seek shelter from the elements and foreign predators.
Tip Five: Keep Your Pets Inside.
This one may be a less popular suggestion, but an important one nonetheless. If you want to attract native wildlife into your backyard, keep your pets inside. You want to provide a nurturing and safe environment for your native visitors, and cats and dogs might scare them off! If your pets do love spending time outdoors, consider an enclosed area for them to play in separate to any feeding areas you’ve set up.
Want to Know More?
At Australian Outdoor Living, we want you to get the best outdoor experience, so we’ve compiled a list of helpful resources to give you a head-start on a multipurpose backyard. Check out our other posts below:
- Enjoy these valuable tips to create an eco-friendly backyard
- Keep the fauna around but the mozzies away with these natural insect-repellent ideas
- Create your own backyard bee community with this backyard bee-keeping trend
- Grow an eco-friendly garden with these water-saving plants
- Create a verandah space for your bird feeder with these awesome verandah design ideas
- Ready to renovate? Request a FREE measure and quote for your new verandah.