By creating a wildlife haven in your garden you will not only be able to enjoy watching the birds and butterflies that visit, you will also have the benefit of their actions as natural pest controllers. To have the bugs and insects that damage your plants eaten by birds is preferable to using a chemical spray. In addition bees act as pollinators for flowers and fruit. I came across this article by Lauren Dunec Hoang on the Houzz website which describes nine design ideas from wildlife-friendly gardens.
Having a wildlife-friendly garden doesn’t mean you need to let everything grow wild — although you can. There are plenty of ways to make even the most stylish, ordered and contemporary gardens attractive to pollinators and other beneficial wildlife. With smart plant choices and a few design moves, you can increase both the biodiversity of your yard and its overall visual appeal.
Take a look at the following good-looking gardens from Vancouver to the Netherlands, all bursting with color and design ideas that will lend a helping hand to local wildlife.
1. Add pollinator-friendly plants in contemporary ways. Planting a mass of bee- and butterfly-friendly species alongside an edible garden functions both as a pretty border and draws pollinators close to crops — important for food production. You could plant this border in a looser cottage garden style or in a more modern geometric planting arrangement.
The designers of this kitchen garden in Vancouver opted for the latter, planting giant allium and lavender in a contemporary checkerboard pattern that runs the length of the margin between the steel raised beds and the lawn. Pollinators favor the nectar of both allium and lavender, and bees in particular recognize the violet-purple of the blooms.
Planting a mass of two species of flowers in the border also makes a big visual impact and creates a bed that’s easy for pollinators to spot. Other pollinator-friendly plants to consider for a border:
- Catmint (Nepeta spp.)
- Lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus)
- Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
- Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)
- Coneflower (Echinacea spp.)
- Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii)
- Lantana (Lantana spp.)
- Bee balm (Monarda spp.)
- Sage (Salvia spp.)
2. Build in a bug hotel. Many bees and other winged insects seek out shelter in nooks and crannies, such as in the bark in tree trunks or fallen logs. You may not have either of these features in your garden, but adding an insect hotel is an easy way to draw beneficial bugs to your garden and add an interesting textural element to your space.
For example, the designer of this wildlife-friendly backyard in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, embedded sections of hollow branches and small twigs into a stacked concrete wall. The result is an interesting design from a pattern and textural perspective as well as a bee-friendly resting spot.